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« Any other itchy and scratchy gym-barbies? | Main | An action plan always makes me feel better »

15 January 2010



Also (as if i haven't already written a novel here), know that some people feel emotional pain/stress/fear very much physically. I was a very depressed child, and now, as an adult with her depression mostly under control, I still feel the physical manifestation of stress/fear/whatever. If I'm feeling sad, if I'm nervous about school or work, if I've had a fight with my husband, I feel it as a headache.

It can be awfully hard to understand the emotions that children are feeling, since they lack really clear self awareness and descriptive powers. Just know that even if you find a cause/trigger she still may experience some headaches due to emotional state. It's just the unfortunate way that some people experience their feelings.


Also over here from Tertia's blog. This may be less likely as she is waking up with headaches, but if she tends towards anxiousness/shyness it might be connected. Some kids experience this as actual physical pain - like having a stomachache (not a fake one!) in the morning if they are worried about school. If she is on the anxious side, there could be some behavioral things (stress management, CBT, etc.) that might help with the headaches.


Seconding Sara on the blood sugar thing. My daughter had headaches daily in third grade - about age 8. The ped. had us eliminate sweets and let her have a snack midmorning and afternoon. Her teacher was glad to comply b/c she was very concerned about the headaches. The snack was usually raw veggies, sometimes a baggie of cheerios or peanut butter crackers. Did the trick.

If your kid is waking up with them, that's definitely not good. I suppose she's had her blood sugar checked?


What does she say about the pain? I have migraines, and have since I was tiny (5 or younger). They don't seem to have any relationship with my diet (I've tried everything), allergies, posture, teeth or vision. The only triggers that are identifiable are lack of sleep and hormonal issues, but sometimes they also just show up for no reason.

The pain is intense, kind of throbbing, and usually feels like it's located right behind one eye or the other. Light, sounds, and movement make it worse. Triptans work wonders, but if you don't have them yet, I'd suggest trying caffeine (in whatever form) when a headache strikes, and then resting in a dark, quiet place.

Poor little pumpkin. I hope she feels better soon.


It has all been said above:

Full eye check with opthamologist not just the optician in the shop,


Try to define the headache with her - see a check list of the various headaches, cluster, stress, migraine etc and

Keep a diary of triggers.

Don't just randomly and suddenly cut gluten / dairy. Have a proper allergy test.

She seems a very sensitive soul and could be stressed or overtired.

All the best!

Good Luck!

Jazz x


PS someone mentioning brainstorming with her to try and define the trigger. Kids do really well when they Mind-Map makes it easier not so stressful etc...

Do a Google Search on Mind Mapping for kids and you will find tons of info. The main expert is someone called Tony Buzan


I havent read all the replies. I suffer from headaches. I have all my life. Mine have to do with my posture - I scrunch my shoulders up. Only now in later life has pilates helped me with that. Also my low low blood pressure contributes to them.

My advice for her is watch what she eats - maybe make a food diary for a week. Allergies have played a huge part in our family and eliminating what we cant have has really made a huge difference!



Just also want to echo what Sara said re blood sugar: it is also an important thing. Eating regularly and focussing on low GI foods are heaven sent for keeping headaches/migraines away.

Then also on another person's comment: ibuprofen and aspirin DID help for me when I was a kid as the scale of the migraine was just so much less, so I wouldn't say it would be a clear indicator of a migraine/headache difference. Perhaps rather ask whether the headache is feeling like a sword through your eye rather than a dull head pain, whether there is any signs of nausea (although not necessarily required for migraine) and whether light sensitivity is at play (does a dark room help, does even the smallest light make the pain much much worse) - those are all migraine indicators.


Lots of good commets here, I will not add advice, except wish you luck that it is something easily dealt with poor Barney Girl!

Keep well, dear Mel.



It has been mentioned a few times already but my first bet would be that it is sleep related - oversleepng or too little sleep, waking up at an unusual time, sleeping in a bedroom that is too hot/cold/stuffy or clenching/grinding teeth while asleep.



I suffered from big headaches when I was a child, and they didn't leave until I was nineteen. Not migraine, cause I was able to do almost a normal life, but for sure I was in pain and it was unconfortable. And for me the problem was CLEARLY psychosomatic. I've always been a good well behaved girl, very sensitive, best at school, lots of extra-activities and I was very stressed. At nineteen, after a big depression, I realised I had to calm down and I relaxed. And suddenly, my headaches left completely. Amazing.

I don't know if your girl is similar to me, but maybe she could do better with some simple relax techniques taught by a good therapist. Or maybe she's worried about something and this is her way to communicate. Headaches are very very related with stress and emotions. And of course is no one's fault, it depends on the character of the child. My brother and I have been raised by the same parents, and he's completely zero stressed, no headaches at all :D

Good luck and a big kiss from Spain (sorry my english mistakes). Im a Psychologist, so if you need more advice you can contact me trough the email.


Thats not nice Mel, and I do hope you find an answer soon.
The knucklehead used to battle a little with headaches, but his seemed to be linked to growth spurts and thankfully he didn't battle with them for long.


I'm so glad the scan was clear.

Allergens and eye strain are what gave me headaches as a kid. Even mild eye strain can cause headaches. As a kid I didn't even realize I needed glasses. I just thought slightly fuzzy was how the world looked.


a fantastic website with info about how substances in everyday food can cause problems for kids. straightforward and detailed, and oh the relief to get something that works.

maybe it will come in handy if you don;t find a solution elsewhere.

sad to see such a cutie having a bad time.


I see that everyone has posted really great answers covering nearly everything that could cause Beks' headaches, but I thought I'd add my two cents. :) I had headaches as a child and into my teens - they were frequent and sometimes migraine level. I had every test imaginable. I did have a slight thyroid problem (which you may want to look into) but that went away with medicine and the headaches persisted. I still (am now 25) get headaches, but not with the frequency and severity that I used to. So now, years later, my doctor finally mentions that it could be a sinus problem. He told me he liked Mucinex best for relieving sinus headaches, and guess what? It works (for me, at least)! I have all this pressure built up, and it's worst when I wake up because all that drainage has just built up when I'm lying down. Then when I get up in the am, that build up has caused sinus pressure, and in turn, a headache. The Mucinex helps get rid of that pressure, which takes care of the headache.

You may have already checked sinus issues, but I had to mention it, because it's a pretty basic cause of headaches but no one caught it in me. I have allergies and such, but the sinus is what causes the headaches, and boy am I glad to have finally figured that out.

Good luck! It's miserable to deal with, and I'm sure even tougher to deal with when you're the parent. We'll be praying for Beks AND you! Keep us posted!


my oldest had this problem from about 3 to 5 years old. Since my dad is disaled as a reult of a congenital brain defect that burst later in lif, this obvious terrified me. We first thoughttaht it wa his eye sight, and that was the doctor's initial feeling also. Apparently eye sight is thenumber one cause of headaches in young children. we went in for teh consult and it turned out he had perfect vision; I was glad fr his vision, but worried about the true cause. we were told to keep a headache journal....w started to notice a pattern---- he had headaches at times hen he would have been tired, either at night or afte a hard day. Wate and lie down time solvedi for us- but a head ache journal would be a good idea for helping you to see if there is a pattern...if they manifest most when tired, after reading time, afte playing outside, or if they appear to be totally random.
Best wishes


Hi, my 9 year old niece also started suffering from headaches when she was about 7/8 years old. She was tested for allergies and it turned out to be sinus related. So my advice would be to do the allergy test first.


Migraines. I speak from experience.

I don't recall at what age they started, but I have a vivid memory from 8th grade of me, standing at the school drinking fountain shoving 10 aspirin into my mouth at one time. And that never even touched the pain. I wasn't officially diagnosed until after college. And what a difference the right drugs make. No aspirin or ibuprofin in the world can help a migraine.


I started getting headaches as a young child, and unfortunately, my 8 year old son gets frequent headaches as well. My headaches went larely undiagnosed until adulthood, with me just being told to suck it up. Not the best way to handle it! (Now I take a prescription med that contains a muscle relaxant, but only for the really bad headaches. Most of the time I just have learned to live with the pain.) With my son, he has a number of other medical diagnosis, so first we had to determine that the headaches weren't related to any of them, and they don't seem to be. We ruled out vision issues as well. Even after several years, food diaries, testing, etc, we have not been able to pinpoint a cause. He can be a fairly anxious child, so there may be a stress component, although I have yet to figure out how to help that. His pediatrician thinks he is having migraines, as they tend to involve nausea and vomiting, although he does not get the aura. I think his school is tired of calling me to pick him up. There is medication that he can take, but for now we are trying to manage it without adding any new prescriptions. Tylenol helps dull the pain, but doesn't make it go away. If we catch it soon enough, the combination of Tylenol and resting in a dark quiet room will sometimes keep it from getting full blown, but once it gets bad, it seems to juts have to run it's course. Which is so hard to watch as a parent, and not be able to fix it. I think you are taking all the right steps, and I hope that you are able to pinpoint a cause or at least come up with a workable treatment plan.


Has you daughter had an mri? When my son was 9 months old he cried and screamed for what seemed like hours on end and would hit himself in the head. They did and mri scan and he was found to have a Chiari 1 malformation. Usually kids who have this will start having headaches as they enter adolescence. My son was just unlucky and they started very early. I am not saying that is what your daughter has but they can definitely diagnose it by mri. I wish you the best of luck. It is so hard to see our babies hurting no matter their age.

Suzi in Las Vegas

Hi Mel, I'm a Tertia blog reader...

I developed headaches about age 11, primarily due to sinus and hormones. I still get migraines, and have discovered lots of friends with similar stories. There are a few things, and I am going to repeat much of what everyone has already said.

One thing that did catch my eye was that she WAKES up with them. This is unusual. I would say that based on this, you can probably rule out her eyes, but make sure you check teeth grinding! IF she's not showing a respitory reaction (sinus pressure, mucous) then its probably not an inhaled allergy.

Its summer down there - I know that if i get even a little bit dehydrated, I'm sunk. And not just water, but electrolytes.

The other option I have not seen is the one that my cousin suffered - when she gets constipated, she gets horrible headaches. The dr ran all sorts of tests before the light came on. He calls it FOS (full of s...) syndrome.

That said, before you deal with medicine - headache meds are a tricky thing. I went through about 6 before finding a triptan that works, and the side effects aren't great.

Rule out anything serious with the CAT scan. And then get to a homeopathic dietician. You'll have to alter your diet dramatically, and then add things in one at a time. But many people swear it works for them, and I have found that getting rid of my carbs has resulted in zero headaches in months.

thinking of you! KEep us posted.


I've had migraines for twenty years - no caffeine sorts it out. That includes NO COCA COLA! However, (and this is going to sound strange) when someone is in the middle of a migraine, strong caffeine is the best thing to stop it. Most migraine tabs are about 50% caffeine. So maybe that will help you diagnose if it is a migraine or not, if the caffeine helps during the headache, and lack of it in every day life stops it happening.

My friend's daughter had terrible headaches for about two years. She had to have a few lumbar punctures, and eventually after lots of terrible tests, they discovered she had some kind of liquid around her brain, causing compression and pain. It went away by itself.

Headaches are so broad spectrum, frustrating because it could be anything!


Sorry, some more info. If it is migraine - try to stay away from the migraine drugs. I find with those you need to take more, and stronger drugs every time.

I found something that works very well - CoQ10. It's a supplement that is found in health shops. Some people take it every day, I only take it when the actual migraine starts.

Good luck!


I am 24 and have been getting horrible headaches since I was a child, also. I've had all sorts of CAT scans, MRIs, blood tests, sinus surgeries, allegy tests, adenoids out, etc. I have had at least a constant slight headache for over a decade, no joke. No one can pin-point the problem.

While that is not helpful information, this might be. Eye doctor is a great idea. As is the chiropractor. I recently started seeing a chiropractor and swear by them now. The headaches aren't gone, but the severity of the bad ones are way down. A medicine that helps me a lot is Midrin....I've tried all sorts of migraine meds and pian killers, and midrin is the best bet for me. It doesn't kill the pain, unlike your regular pain killers, but it also doesn't make you loopy like pain killers (pain killers all tend to make me loopy and nauseous). Midrin, for me, works as a wall. It pushes the headaches back, so that they are there but not as strong...sort of like a thought that you've pushed to the back of your mind.

I also wake up with headaches, and have found that if I feel a little off before bed, take the Midrin, and get a good nights sleep, the headache is much more likely to be bearable the next day. Good luck, I hope this helps a little. And your daughter is adorable, by the way!


I'd go with the eye doctor and then chiropractor first.

my husband use to suffer from headaches until he started seeing a chiropractor regularly every 3 weeks... the first few weeks more trips are required but as things even out the time between visits lengthens.

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