My 10-year-old daughter suffers from serious headaches. I took her to a neurologist and she was diagnosed with migraines. She takes Aleve as the doctor prescribed, but it does not help. What should I do?
The American Medical Association says more than 8 million children and teens suffer from migraine headaches. Something like 90 percent of those children have a family history of migraines.
Unfortunately, you may never get closer to the root of the problem than family history. While we have a good understanding of the way migraines work, the actual cause is still largely a mystery.
The good news is that a significant number of children outgrow their migraines. But that doesn’t mean your daughter has to suffer in the meantime. There’s a lot you can do to help, though it may take considerable time and effort before you both get a handle on managing the migraines.
At this point, it makes sense to call the neurologist or your daughter’s pediatrician, explain that the medication isn’t helping and figure out what to do next. Stronger prescription medications may be indicated at some point, but there are some non-medicinal treatments and techniques that you might want to try before taking that step.
You’ll probably be advised to help your daughter start a headache diary, in which she tracks specific details about the migraines as well as lifestyle factors, such as what she was eating or doing before the migraine started. The diary can help identify migraine triggers. Common triggers include chocolate, caffeine, nuts, cheese and certain food additives.
Eating and sleeping on a regular schedule often help reduce the incidence and severity of migraines. Stress and “overdoing it” may also exacerbate migraines. Biofeedback and other relaxation techniques are very effective at combating migraine symptoms and reducing their frequency.