7-year-old son - two years of right-sided headaches / Migraines?

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  • Full Question:

    My son is 7 years old and for the past two years he has experienced headaches on the right side of his head, most always they wake him in the very early morning hours.  We have been to our pediatrician, who suggested an MRI.  The results showed nothing unusual.  He gave us a prescription for a migraine medication that had not been tested in children so I did not fill it.  I try to administer Advil early if my son wakes up complaining of a headache, but most often it doesn't help and he ends up vomiting several times until he feels better.  There are no foods that I can relate to these headaches.  I have also tried massage, cold packs, etc- no help.  Any suggestions? Brandy.

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    Full Answer:

    Dear Brandy;


    A sad fact about Migraine treatment is that we use many medications that were developed for other conditions and many that haven't been tested for children. This is because of a lack of adequate research funding.


    Was the medication his doctor prescribed an acute medication to be given when your son gets a Migraine, or a daily preventive medication? There is one triptan medication to be taken when a Migraine occurs that is FDA approved for children as young as six-years-old, Maxalt. You can read more about that at http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/c/202/151390/migraine-abortive.


    Trigger identification and management is a vital component of managing Migraine disease. One of the best tools for identifying triggers is a good Migraine diary. You can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary. Some of us have food triggers; some of us don't. What methods did you use to arrive at the conclusion that you can't find any food triggers? An elimination diet is the best way to do that. For more information and a workbook on this, see Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.


    When people awake with Migraines, it's very often related to a sleep issue - not getting up and going to bed on a regular schedule, too much sleep, too little sleep, poor quality sleep. Take a look at Migraines, Headaches, and Sleep for more on this.


    Perhaps most importantly, you need to have a doctor in whom you have confidence and whose advice you will follow, or at least discuss issues with. Your son's doctor can't help if you don't discuss it with him or her if they prescribe a medication you're not comfortable with.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



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    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Last updated June 3, 2013.

Published On: June 02, 2013