Back To School: Tips for Helping Your Child With Headache

Children and Headache

When you think about someone experiencing a headache, you probably think of an adult. But many kids complain of headaches, too, and for some of the very same reasons as adults. As children and teens prepare to return to school, it’s important to acknowledge the impact chronic headache and migraine can have on their education and social lives.

Among school age children ages 5 to 17 in the United States, 20 percent are prone to headache. Success in managing the headaches depends not only on a correct diagnosis and effective treatment, but also on understanding responses from parents, educators, and school health care professionals.

The more that parents, school health care professionals, and teachers know about children and headaches, the easier it will be to identify them and help children manage them for a full and rewarding life.

When children experience chronic headaches, it affects them at home and in school. Their success in life depends not only on a correct diagnosis and effective treatment, but also on understanding responses from parents and educators. Here are some tips for helping young people with headaches.


Headache at home: Be responsive and sensitive without pampering. Treat this child the same as you treat your other children.

Discourage school refusal: There will be times when a headache will cause a child to miss school, but your child shouldn’t miss more than five days per semester as a result of headache. If he or she misses more than five days, further evaluation may be needed.

Communicate with educators: It is important for parents of younger children, and for adolescents themselves, to discuss headaches with educators. Your child’s doctor can write a letter explaining the importance of treatment. Give the medications and instructions for use to the school nurse.

Discuss immediate treatment: Explain to each teacher that the moment a child feels the warning signs of a headache, he or she should be allowed to leave class, go to the nurse for medication, and rest until symptoms have decreased.


Legitimate biological disease: A child or adolescent’s chronic headaches or migraines are real responses and not excuses.

Missing school: When a child gets a headache during school, encourage him or her to lie down in the nurse’s office during a headache, or until symptoms diminish to a more manageable level. Be sure he or she returns to class afterward.

Communicate with student: Offer a sensitive reaction that does not embarrass the child in front of his or her classmates. When a child knows the school environment is supportive then headaches should not be used as a reason for missing school, or for more than a minimal amount of time.

Allow immediate treatment: If, during a class, a child explains that he or she has to take medication, encourage the student to go to the nurse’s office. Taking medication as soon as the first signs of a headache appear is important.

What You Need to Know This Cold and Flu Season

KnowYourDose_chronic pain


It’s that time of year again: cold and flu season is here. As you stock your medicine cabinet to combat coughs and stuffy noses, remember to double check your medicine labels so you don’t double up on medicines containing acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in the U.S., and each week more than 50 million Americans use it to treat pain, fever, and cold and flu symptoms. It’s safe and effective when used as directed, but taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage.

Double check; don’t double up on acetaminophen this cold and flu season. Learn more at

Headache Sufferers’ Diet

The first step in the nutritional management of diet-triggered headaches is eating a well-balanced diet. It is especially important to eat three meals a day with a snack at night or 6 small meals spread though out the day.  You should include a good protein source at each meal/snack (i.e. milk, meat, fish) and should avoid eating high sugar foods by themselves, especially when excessively hungry. These actions will help to prevent the ‘hunger headache’.

If you are taking an MAOI drug (i.e Nardil, Parmate) you need to follow a low-tyramine diet. Continue Reading

Military Migraine Topic Sheet

More than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine, with women being affected three times more often than men. They are most commonly experienced between the ages of 15 and 55, and 70% to 80% of sufferers have a family history of migraine. Less than half of all migraine sufferers have received a diagnosis of migraine from their healthcare provider. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus headache or tension-type headache.


Migraine is extremely common in war veterans. In fact, one study reported that 36% of those returning from Iraq after deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom experienced attacks of migraine-like headaches. Another study reported that 37% of soldiers with concussion injuries had headaches within one week of the concussion. Of these headaches, 91% had characteristics of migraine headache. Continue Reading

Tell Us About Your Life at College, and How You Cope with Your Headaches

Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-10-20_09As anyone that has suffered from migraines can attest to, getting things done can sometimes be impossible. So what happens when you’re a college student taking a full-load of courses, working a part-time job, and trying to have some semblance of a social life? I’ve suffered from Chronic Daily Headaches (CDH) for over 7-years now, but I can say with confidence that I am living life as a successful college Junior despite my pain. I’m not saying that my headaches are gone, and I’m not saying that the pain doesn’t ever get the best of me. Being away at college, though, has provided me with a unique opportunity to take control of my health. Here are some things I’ve discovered about my headaches in the last two and a half years at college: Continue Reading