What kind of headache causes a 12-year-old to wake up every other morning with pain in forehead? My child has had headaches for years which we thought were sinus issues. He had sinus surgery in March and seemed to be better for a few months, but now the frequency and intensity is back every other day. His ENT now thinks he might be having migraines, but they don't fit the classic syptoms. Does this kind of headache fit in the migraine spectrum? Do I go to a headache specalist or a neurologist? I am desperate to find relief for him so he can enjoy his childhood.
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Most of what people think are sinus headaches are actually Migraines. Sinus problems generally cause headaches only when there is infection present. You can read more about this issue in Sinuses Giving You a Headache? It's Probably a Migraine.
In a great percentage of cases where people awaken with a headache or Migraine, a sleep problem is the trigger. It can be too much, too little, disrpted, or poor quality sleep. Many of these people don't even realize there's a problem with their sleep. This is something else to discuss with your sons doctor.
The only symptom you mention is a headache. In general, the diagnostic criteria for the daignosis of Migraine requires other symptoms as well. You can read about the four possible phases of a Migraine attack and their possible associated symptoms in Anatomy of a Migraine. Is there any family history of Migraines, "sick headaches," or "sinus headaches?" This is a question that doctors should be asking you when working to diagnose your son.
Some neurologists do well treating Migraine; other's don't. You can find some pediatric Migraine and headache specialist here -- Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists. If there's one close enough to you, you could start with a specialist. If not, you could consult a neurologist and see how things go first.
You and your family are bound to be going through a rough time. If you'd like some additional support, come join our discussion forum. You'll need to register again once there because it's a separate membership database, but you can use the same member name, email address, and password that you used here. You can find our forum at http://forums.healthcentral.com/discussion/migraine/forums. There's even a special folder for discussion children's headaches and Migraines.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for your thoughful and insightful response. Since the headaches don't seem so intense after the surgery, I am thinking the surgery was not in vain but still not the complete answer. It will be 2 1/2 months before the next available appt. for a pediatric neurologist in my area, so I took my son to see a natropath. It is a competely different approach but we are testing for food/vitamin deficiencies since he is very thin, has a poor appetite and is a very pickey eater. He can be a restless sleeper, so this is something to consider as you mentioned in your response. We are also considering the fact that even though the drainage pathway is open now after the surgery, maybe inflamation and thick mucus is prohibiting it to flow out properly. Somthing to help that, either natropathic (perferably) to over the counter is something to consider. Any suggestions?
Again thank you and I will consider the discussion forum.