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Causes of Headaches in Children

When people think about those poor unfortunate headache sufferers they are always talking about adults. When in truth children have just as many headache problems as their adult counterparts. Unless you are one, or have a child who deals with headaches from a young age, no one thinks of kids as having headaches. Yet, studies have shown that before they begin school thirty three percent of all children have had at least one diagnosed headache.

The question that parents and physicians ask is what could possibly be the triggers of a young child’s headaches. There are actually more possibilities then many would guess. To begin with people who suffer headaches will find that in their family history there are many like them. Migraines are very much a family issue. If you have this family history then it would not in the least be a surprise to learn your child is having headaches too. Especially if the child is a girl since migraine headaches usually show a genetic connection and more migraine sufferers are female.

Headaches can be caused by an accident or injury to the head. If this should happen it would be wise to see your health care provider so you know the appropriate medical follow-up.  If your preference is to deal with it yourself, just be cautious if the child’s headache gets worse. This could be a sign of serious things to come. 

Many environmental issues can cause headaches. These include if the weather changes, barometric pressure change, bright lights, strong smells, or excessive loud noises. Many headaches can be caused by stress. Too many people discount stress as being a problem for children but it certainly can be. If there are marital problems between a child’s parents this can cause them a lot of stress, as can an upcoming divorce. Or the other side of that might be a divorced parent ready to marry again. This can be a big emotional upset for a child of any age. Problems at school can be responsible for tension headaches. These can be anything from struggling with schoolwork, being a bright kid who’s bored, to being hassled by the local school bully.

Children also have been known to have headaches as a reaction to certain foods. MSG, monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer, which has been known to be difficult for some people to tolerate. It can cause headaches or upset stomachs. Caffeine, which kids ingest daily in chocolate and sodas, is also another headache trigger.  Improper sleep, too much or too little, can give a child a headache, juts like it does to many adults.  As well, there is dehydration; this is a big headache trigger for everyone.  A child who is playing outside on a hot day is not necessarily going to think to come in for a drink every once and a while. If they are involved in sports again they may just be too busy to think about drinking while they play hard to help their team win.

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Causes of Headaches in Children