Headache and Migraine Affect Children’s Grades, Quality of Life

Headache affects many children during their school years, and a recent study from Brazil suggests what many may suspect, that severe headache is often associated with lower quality of life and poor academic performance in that age group.

In fact, researchers say that headache can have a more devastating effect on children’s quality of life than abdominal, back, or limb pain and can produce effects similar to those of arthritis or cancer.

To better understand this issue, researchers at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Brazil randomly selected nearly 200 10- to 15-year-old students and evaluated their quality of life, depression, and anxiety.  Their academic records were also reviewed.

Of 184 students, 97% percent reported headache; 51% experienced migraine; 33% had tension-type headache, and nearly 8% primary stabbing headache.

Researchers found severe headache was associated with a lower average grade, indicating that the greater the impact of headaches, the poorer the academic performance.  Researchers also found that migraine and more severe headache were associated with lower quality of life.

The study authors, led by Pedro A.S. Rocha-Filho, MD, PhD, concluded that prophylactic headache treatment may improve the academic performance of students, but that possibility will have to be studied further to determine any certainty.

This study appeared in June online in the journal Headache.

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