Headache in a child: causes, what to do

Any pain to child dangerous, but sometimes a special situation with the headaches that can be a sign of problems with the brain and many other systems and tissues. Of particular difficulty is the problem of its detection, especially in young children, who may not thoroughly and accurately describe their complaints.

It is important to understand that headaches doctors always relate to dangerous symptoms, in healthy children, similar symptoms never develop.

The younger the child, the more common causes for the formation of headaches, especially which arose on the background of complete health. They need to immediately figure out and resolve.

Headache in the child: it always indicates pathology?

For the appearance of headaches from early childhood, allocated a lot of organic and functional causes, and such complaint relates to the ten most common complaints among preschoolers and schoolchildren. Of course, headaches are possible in children of early age, but to describe them accurately, they can not, and sometimes you can recognize these symptoms doctors and parents have on the basis of indirect evidence.

If to speak about the preschool child, especially school age, it is quite clearly able to describe their complaints in relation to headache. You can find out how the nature of pain, and localization features of the symptom. After a bit of questioning it is possible to figure out in what situation and when any event of pain arose, and if they duplicate what they are usually provoked. You can also check with your child, due to what they pain is alleviated or disappears.

Attention! Special situation – headaches in adolescents. They can occur for reasons of a temporary dissonance-growing and emerging body in puberty. But it is also important to take into account the fact that such pain may be an effort of the simulation because, as it is a subjective symptom that is extremely difficult to evaluate the parents and the doctor.

For a better understanding of all the processes that can happen in the mind of the child, as well as facilitate understanding of the reasons for the development of pain and its origin, it is important at least briefly to disassemble certain anatomical and physiological foundations of structure and functioning of the head. So, the brain pain receptors do not possess, but a lot of them in all the surrounding formations. All the anatomical areas of the head have pain receptors, which can form pathological impulses. Rich in pain receptors region of the venous sinuses, cranial nerves and the area of the meninges, besides the large vessels of the head, periosteum or soft tissue of the skull. In addition, the pain receptors are provided to all large vessels of the neck and face tissues which can also generate pain signals with the reflected signals.

Pain perception is formed because of the stimulation of receptors of various chemical or physical impulses formed by the arousal and flow of impulses transmitted by sensory fibers in the pain centres of the brain.

If excited only individual sections or areas, then the pain is felt in local, if the irritation is formed from extensive areas on the skull or internal structures surrounding the brain, may be a feeling of headache spilled, of a General nature.

Headache: definition

From a medical point of view, headache is one of the most lengthy and extensive concepts. It is called the scientific term “cephalalgia”, but this definition can be applied to essentially any unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling in the head. Because of this, under the concept of cephalgia subject as a feeling of heaviness and mild pain, and retchisa, sharp and excruciating pain.

Its localization to the cephalgic pain, it is customary to classify the sensations that occur throughout the area, ranging from the brow to the border, where the back of the head into the neck (where you attach the skull to the spine).

Headaches in children are formed due to various reasons associated by bone formation of the skull and its blood vessels or nerve endings and trunks, all the meninges, and its sub-structures. Can be formed also headaches due to various irregularities of the cervical spine and disorders in the shoulder girdle, pathology of internal organs, tissues, or whole organism.

It is important to emphasize that headaches is not a disease, it’s just a symptom of the pathologies and problems that have different causes and mechanisms of occurrence, but irritate receptors in the area of the head (often even and neck) and give pain, trackmouse as headaches.

Options headaches in children

Not all headaches are the same in their origins and manifestations.

Therefore, the experts decided to allocate two groups of headaches:

  • If the headaches belong to one of the leading in the clinical picture of symptoms, and then and only complaint, and it is through them the child is extremely unwell, he expressed discomfort on the pain of primary origin. Such pain may be typical for different processes of microbial, viral infections. In addition, these types of pain – the primary typical migraine attacks, cluster beam, or pain, or tension headaches.
  • if headaches are one of the many other extremely unpleasant symptoms, they treat the secondary. Then these complaints are not among the leading in the clinic, they are regarded as complex with all other manifestations, and they are typical for many pathological conditions and somatic diseases. Headaches secondary plan may be manifestations of various types of infections, febrile reactions, which will gradually take place as the normalization of the status or eliminate fever.

If to speak about secondary headaches, the reasons for their formation, there are about two hundred. Primary pain is much less and they are usually stronger and more pronounced.

Causes of childhood cephalgia

Of course, to list all possible situations in which the possible headaches in children is practically impossible, since this manifestation can accompany almost any somatic and infectious diseases, and is also a manifestation of many traumatic, hypoxic and toxic processes. In addition, it is important to understand that to provoke the development of pain may have several processes, a combination of negative factors and issues from the body, the impact of external influences and internal. But among the variety of processes leading to cephalgia in children, the most common and critical reasons.

The most common and frequently reported causes for the formation of pain in children:

  • The consequences of head injuries incurred after concussions or bruises, falls or blows
  • Reactive reactions that occur in response to abrupt changes in external factors – fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, or changes in the geomagnetic environment
  • Secondary pain reactive emerging as a result of changes in the body of children against development of allergies, long sleep or constant sleep debt, as a reaction to some medical manipulations
  • Reaction to infectious agents, taking certain medicines or food additives, certain products as a consequence of dehydration or an answer to the problematic work of certain internal organs (kidneys, liver, heart).
  • Pain that form inflammation localized to the region of the paranasal sinus (genyantritis, frontal sinusitis or etmoidit, pansinusitis)
  • Pain that occurs with an overdose of analgesic drugs of several that were used without having them readings
  • Headaches associated with stress, if children are badly overworked on the background of prolonged mental stress, prolonged sitting behind the monitor
  • Migraine pain that vary greatly in severity and duration, as well as the appearance of pain, or rarely occur in adolescents cluster headaches, has to date still not determined for sure the origin of.

The occurrence of any of the complaints of the child to headaches, and even the minimum is not sharp, localized in the temples, frontal area or the back of the head, should be cause for consultation with your doctor, especially if there are no signs of colds, internal infections, and headaches recur repeatedly.

Features of cephalgia, depending on age

Headaches are possible with any age group of children, including among newborns, but the latter the most difficult to diagnose similar symptoms. This is due to the complex non-specific behavioral reactions in response to pain impulses and the inability to verbally Express their feelings. Doctor and parents are often very difficult to determine the exact localization of the pain and their power.

There are some age peculiarities in the development of cephalgia, and related the most common causes of sensations:

  • in the neonatal period and first year of life, the headaches usually associated with the birth trauma. Often it becomes a forceps, vacuum extraction, or fetal asphyxia, prolonged anhydrous the presence of the fetus in the uterus. This leads to intracranial hypertension, which gives the irritation of receptors and headaches. They can be suspected in the presence of complications at birth and subsequent troubled behavior of the child, frequent crying, poor sleep and regurgitation. Such manifestations is cause for consultation with a neurologist.
  • in the period up to three years often, there may be headaches as a result of a cold or different infectionsthat actively proliferate viruses and bacteria, they form a toxic syndrome with fever, nausea, irritation of receptors in the mind and pain.
  • at school age due to abrupt changes of life and the load on the nervous system, availability of lessons, homework and early mornings to study, headaches can develop because of fatigue, overexertion and stress. In children after six or seven years become frequent tension headaches, they are associated with functional disorders, exhaustion from excess of tasks and sections, problems with daily routine or sleep.
  • in the period of adolescence headaches associated with hormonal changes and stress, likely as headaches because of tension, migraine or cluster pain.

In addition to age and causes of disease, one must also consider the localization of the pain – frontal region, temporal, or occipital, and the time of occurrence, duration, sensations and related symptoms.

May play a role in the development of headaches in children by various factors, which include, in addition to all previously listed:

  • violations of the visual analyzer, vision problems, leading to a prolonged tension of the eye muscles. Can lead to headaches incorrectly chosen glasses or lenses. Such pain is usually localized in the frontal area.
  • a long stay in confined and stuffy room, which leads to hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) and affects the brain, creates drowsiness and pain in the neck.
  • diet, malnutrition and prolonged fasting, skipping meals in the morning, leading to hypoglycemia (reduced blood glucose). Hypoglycemia gives you the feeling of hunger and aggression, headache and dizziness, and in severe situations loss of consciousness.

Various forms of headaches have their specificity in the clinical picture and associated manifestations, as well as features of the course depending on age boundaries, and that is to understand the most frequent types in more detail.

Tension headaches: what is special in children

This kind of headaches relates to functional, and one of the most frequent in childhood. This type of pain and discomfort arises as a result of negative effects on children as acute stressors, and chronic, constantly influencing day-to-day. Depending on the age, the stress factors can be attributed to different effects – too much physical activity, disproportionate to age, fatigue from the noisy games and plenty of guests, if it’s a younger child, violent emotions and experiences (both negative and positive).

The mechanism of such pain, particularly associated with stress, is relatively simple. Is formed by a process of active and pronounced decrease of muscle elements in the head. This is especially true for vessels that are also reduced. Located in the head and neck area the blood vessels due to contraction of the muscles come into a state of spasm, form stimulation of pain receptors, due to give the feeling of a headache.

On average, the duration of such pain can be a period of a couple of hours to several days and even weeks, it all depends on which of the factors affect the receptors. These pains are described as a feeling of compression or retraction of the head Hoop, feeling a sharp pressure in the neck area, temples or neck. Inside the head can be formed of sensations that are similar to the state of “wearing of the helmet or helmets.” The intensity of the pain is not very high and that’s why the child remains healthy and can perform daily actions, does not suffer from the health and psyche, but may suffer in the process of studying and concentration, behavior.

What is special about data headaches?

In them pain may intensify during exertion or emotional experiences, and at the peak of the attack occurs with nausea and rejection of food, intolerance of light and sounds, increased pain from the strong stimuli of the senses.

In some cases, these headaches can be triggered by the finding of the child in a static position for a long time, especially during school hours. This may be due to incorrect selection of furniture for school and for homework. May experience the same kind of pain when vision problems due to the tension of the visual analyzer.

Vascular pain: especially in children

To the baby’s brain, which consumes the greatest amount of oxygen from all body tissues, worked actively and meaningfully, he needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients in the brain vessels. Due to various pathologies, disorders of regulation of vascular tone, prolonged stress or other factors, the vessels of the brain spazmiruyutsya, or overly stretched. As a result, the blood or bad flow to the brain, or with the work flowing from it, which leads to disruption of oxygen delivery. The brain acutely and sharply reacts to such changes that creates headaches. Typical such problems for schoolchildren and adolescents, which may result in manifestations of vascular dystonia (VVD).

Changes in intracranial pressure: characteristics of children

The change in pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid (a spinal fluid circulating around the brain) is possible and under normal conditions with physical activity and exertion, severe coughing and straining, when lifting heavy objects. Such temporary episodes did not manifest itself, and quite quickly the pressure comes to normal values. But when exceeding a certain physiological value, if you have symptoms of illness, you must consult a doctor to rule out serious pathology and health problems.

The symptoms include severe headaches since early morning with the formation of nausea and vomiting is the leading complaints from children. On the background of the ICP status is always bad, but getting worse towards evening or night. Typical of intracranial hypertension are nausea, leading to vomiting, which in this case will not ease the condition, and does not reduce pain.

Headaches with intracranial pressure localized in the occipital region, forming discomfort in the area of the eye that is formed by excess pressure on the area of the orbits. Against the background of such pain are more typical anxiety and constant crying as well as sleep disorder and appetite.

Can be headaches owing to low intracranial pressure is generated in the dehydration on the background of intestinal infections or injuries, but up to five years, such symptoms of headaches are difficult to define, babies can not exactly describe the sensations. You can indirectly guess about a similar symptom on the presence of apathy and drowsiness, lethargy and weakness, as well as bouts of dizziness or even loss of consciousness. The nature of the headaches – a dull and pressing, they are usually localized in the occipital region.

Headache in infectious pathologies

One of the typical manifestations of multiple infections is headache, and malaise, which occur on the background of viral, microbial or other types of infections. Often these symptoms are formed in combination with other manifestations of disease – fever of different severity, pain in the throat, runny nose or congestion, chills, nausea or vomiting. According to all these symptoms, in combination with the indication of contact cold from the people, to diagnose children easier, as well as to identify the cause of pain in the head.

A special variant is a headache on the background of meningococcal lesions with suspected meningitis. It is typical for children at an early age, in the first year of life, as well as preschool and school children. Typical fever and the formation of a severe headache, which then gradually merges with vomiting, which has nothing to do with food, and will not bring relief to the children. The General condition of the children is rapidly progressive and is broken because of changes in intracranial pressure and inflammation of the tissues children take a forced posture with bringing your legs to your chest and tilting your head back. Especially dangerous such as, if the skin of the body appear point-like needle pricks or bruising, stars.

Pathology of the nervous system in childhood

Frequent sudden and acute headaches that do not have other manifestations, poorly cropped analgesics and their symptoms are atypical for other problems may be a symptom space-occupying lesions in the cranial cavity, or certain health disorders.

To exclude such processes it is necessary to conduct a CT scan or MRI to evaluate visually the anatomical structures in the region of the brain. Can give a strong and painful headache, hemorrhage with bruising, cystic cavity, neoplastic processes. They form the change in the anatomy inside the skull, which threatens to change intracranial pressure. Typical symptoms with such problems becomes strong and painful headache with nausea and vomiting, and also problems with sensitivity of certain parts of the body, visual disturbances and epileptic seizures.

Pain in children at a younger age

To accurately determine the presence of crumbs early age headaches impossible, due to the fact that the child can not speak or write in detail your complaint. Can indirectly indicate health problems and headaches symptoms such as anxiety and crying, sleep disturbances, provided that the child is fed, he is dry and there is no apparent reason for irritation. If all the reasons for discomfort eliminated child, but he constantly cries, screams – it is necessary to consult a neurologist.

There are some indirect signs, which can be suspected headaches babies:

  • The screams and restlessness, the long laments increase tonight, strengthening the shouts with the change of body position, crossing the crumbs from vertical to horizontal and Vice versa.
  • Very swollen vein in my head bulges and very tense fontanel
  • Suffering the sleep process, the child falls asleep, screaming or very poor sleep both during the day and at night.
  • Can be sharp cries, wince, groaning.
  • He can pull the handle to the head, to pull itself for hair
  • There may be frequent vomiting of large amounts of food, vomiting
  • Loss of appetite, up to complete refusal from food
  • Often there is fever, sweating
  • The child is pale, lethargic, apathetic.
  • There may be disorders of muscle tone, stiffness of the limbs and body with tilting head

The reasons of headaches in this age can be the development of hydrocephalus, birth defects of the brain and its blood vessels, cerebrospinal fluid spaces, the syndrome of intoxication and infection.

Headaches in toddlers from 2-3 to 5-6 years

Children at this age may also suffer from headaches, but often they are already partially can explain and show you the place where them hurts. But all the symptoms are common and relatively blurred, especially in the younger age group.

Typical would be:

  • Irritability and whims of a child, constant crying for any reason
  • Attempts to put head on the hands or knees in adults, rubbing his head, pulling hair
  • The pallor and lethargy of the baby, the rejection of noisy games and favorite activities, desire to lie down
  • Sleep disorders and appetite
  • Nausea with vomiting, sweating and dizziness
  • The child points to the head and complaining of pain, but to indicate precisely the localization or the nature can not.

Causes of pain in this age usually are infections, somatic diseases, toxicosis, the effects of head injuries and falls, pain, stress associated with excessive emotional or physical stress, and pathology of the nervous system.

Headaches in children older than 6 years

In children after 6 years of headaches in its characteristics comparable with adults, the child can quite accurately and adequately assess the location, character and strength pain. At this age, the headache may be acute or chronic, paroxysmal or permanent. It can be a symptom of various pathologies. Most often this can be infection and somatic diseases, vascular pain as a manifestation of vegetative-vascular dystonia (VSD), as well as migraine headaches or pain resulting from tension.

Less pain result from inflammatory, neoplastic or traumatic lesions of the nervous system that requires urgent consultation with a neurologist. Can be options and psychogenic headaches during adolescence can have long and persistent character. They cause problems in the family, stress, conflict with peers.

What to do for headache in a child?

Naturally, the elimination of the causes of pain and treatment of the underlying disease in most cases leads to elimination of unpleasant symptom. But while the causes are being investigated or when you have very unpleasant symptoms pain can help to alleviate the condition of the baby.

To reduce the intensity or eliminate attack applicable:

  • If the child is hungry, to feed him, sometimes the pain occur during long breaks in the meal.
  • Should organize the rest in a dark and cool room, with its thorough ventilation.
  • It is necessary to eliminate all possible stimuli (bright lights, sounds, haunting toys, computers).
  • You can give a half dose of fever reducing medicine based on paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Be applied to the forehead with a cool cloth, giving the baby to lie down in peace.

Usually these methods are quite enough to eliminate the headaches, they pass for a couple of hours. If the pain does not subside, but only intensified, should go to the doctor or call an ambulance. The reason for the ambulance will be strong, painful and unbearable pain, vomiting and dizziness, inappropriate behavior of the child.

Important mandatory testing of the baby at any age in the presence of:

  • The constant pain and the strong, the intensity of which is high and is not reduced when taking the usual painkillers.
  • episodes of pain are formed once per month.
  • there are such symptoms as nausea or vomiting, mental problems, disorders of vision, problems with coordination or sensitivity.
  • appeared skin rash, high fever, seizures, various neurological symptoms and the crowding of the head, convulsions. You should immediately call an ambulance.
Diagnosis and treatment of cephalgia in children

In each case tactics against diagnostic and therapeutic measures will depend on the reasons that provoke pain. For this you need to appeal to a pediatrician or neurologist who will examine the child, to examine all complaints of himself and his parents, as well as data from the life and history of the disease that can help in recognizing the causes of pathology.

Can be appointed to ascertain the true causes of a number of laboratory tests and x-rays and contrast studies of vessels, CT or MRI of the head and neck. Can also be used ultrasound of internal organs and blood vessels, EEG or ultrasound of the brain (if infants), as well as various additional studies that will be necessary for the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment is assigned depending on the reasons that caused the attacks of cephalgia. If this episodic pain tension, or caused by congestion, some of the effects of the attacks, you can do without medication – need change of routine, stress reduction and proper rest, a baby’s sleep, his long stay in the fresh air. Can help sedative sedative infusions and decoctions, infusions, rationalization of the regime of work and rest, failure from prolonged static loads, the television and computer.

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