Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, and this number includes people of all ages. Sadly, children are among this group — around 8% of children suffer from migraines, with around 1-2% experiencing them on a chronic basis (headaches more than 15 days per month).
At AGA Clinical Trials, we’re one of several research centers taking steps to help curb the rates and severity of migraines in kids, offering pediatric migraine trials that help move current research forward to benefit this vulnerable population. What are the symptoms kids deal with when they have migraines, why are these risks so severe for many children, and why is continuing research so important here? Let’s take a look.
Symptoms of Pediatric Migraines
While migraine symptoms can vary heavily from child to child, and even one child’s own symptoms may vary between episodes, here are some of the more common symptoms generally seen in pediatric migraines:
- Classic migraine symptoms: Like adults, children can experience noise sensitivity, fatigue, dizziness and certain visual issues.
- Full head pain: While adults more commonly feel migraine pain on one side of the head or the other, children have been known to experience full-head pain.
- Abdominal pain without head pain
- Shorter headaches overall, typically improving within 2-4 hours
- Car-sickness often accompanying the migraine, often at the start
- Headaches coming on extremely suddenly, where the child goes from no pain to extreme pain in under 15 minutes
Children Have Trouble Understanding
One of the elements that makes pediatric migraines so damaging is how hard they can be to understand, and thus how difficult it is to prevent them. This is especially true among children, who may not be able to grasp why they feel such sudden, extreme pain, or why they are becoming so ill while doing something they love.
The first risk here is how sudden and extreme migraines can be for kids, in ways that adults don’t experience. Though an adult might feel a migraine coming on over several hours, for example, children may not experience any pain or other symptoms until they are in the throes of a full-blown migraine episode — meaning they have little to no warning that an attack is coming.
This can lead to serious disruptions in their daily lives, as migraines may strike while they’re at school, during playtime with friends, or even while they sleep.
Importance of Pediatric Migraine Research
For these and related reasons, research on pediatric migraines is critical. Not only does it help us to understand this condition better and find new ways to treat it, but it also helps ensure that children receive the care and understanding they need to cope with a difficult and often isolating condition.
If your child suffers from migraines, know that you are not alone — and that there are research centers like AGA Clinical Trials working to help all children get the care and support they need. For more on our current pediatric migraine studies, or to learn about any of our clinical trials or other services, contact our staff today.