Headaches In Children
Common causes of headaches in children
(This is a guest post from Olivia from ‘The Cheeky Mommy’ Blog)
The most common cause of headaches in children are due to some kind of infection such as a cold or flu. If this is the case, then other symptoms will be present or soon be on their way. Normal family ailments such as a cold are not a reason to immediately rush your child to the doctor. The common cold and flu are better managed using natural remedies at home coupled with plenty of rest and hydration.
Some parents may be surprised that emotional trauma can be a catalyst to their child complaining of headaches. In this situation, although there is not a physical malady occurring, the pain is nonetheless real and should be dealt with as seriously as if an infection was brewing.
Trauma can cause headaches. If a fall was accompanied by a loss of consciousness, and there are other symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness, or your child is not acting like themselves, you may consider immediately giving Aconite 30C to help their body deal with the trauma and then go get them checked out by a doctor you trust.
Headaches in children by location
The location of the headache is important to inquire about. It will give you some guidance on the contributing factors and what to do for the specific headache.
Ask your child to point to where it hurts. You will also want to ask your child how it feels in their own words. Don’t be tempted to give them any preemptive suggestions such as, “Does it feel like pressure?” Any descriptions they give you on their own will be very valuable to understand the headache better.
When you describe the headache for your child, they are likely to agree with you even if it is not a true description of what they are experiencing. It may be hard to get away with this if your little one is very young and is still learning words. In that case, have them point to where it hurts and then ask them specific questions to better understand.
“Are you feeling extra tired today?”
This could indicate their body is more fatigued due to fighting off an incubating virus that hasn’t fully revealed itself through full-blown symptoms.
“Did you wake up a lot last night?”
They may have had poor sleep in which case a nap or some quiet time would help with their headache.
“Did you fall down?”
If the headache is due to muscle strain or injury, they will need to be watched closely for signs of increased pressure inside their head from bleeding. This if very rare, but it is important to know the signs that would necessitate a visit to the ER as mentioned above.
“Does your head feel full like a balloon?”
This could mean nasal congestion is contributing to their headache. They may have a cold coming on or seasonal allergies.
“Did something make you feel sad?”
Emotions such as anxiety or fright can cause headaches in children. If your family is going through big transitions, your children can present with headaches as their bodies’ way of dealing with the stress.
Headaches in the front of the head
Your child may be complaining of a headache in the forehead, behind the eyes, or the bridge of the nose. This type of headache will often feel like pressure. Sinus headaches are usually due to an upper respiratory infection or allergies that are blocking the sinuses. You may see green or yellow discharge.
**The frontal sinus does not develop in kids until they are around 7 years old, so if your child is under this age, their headache is not likely from sinusitis.
Natural ways to treat sinus headaches in children:
1. Open up the sinus cavity by taking a steam bath. This is easy to do by closing the door to the bathroom and turning the shower on as hot as possible. Let the shower run for 5 minutes without the vent on and then draw a warm bath. While the bathroom is steaming up, wet a washcloth with warm water and place a few drops of frankincense and lavender essential oil on the washcloth. Drape it over the edge of the tub so the oils will diffuse and fill the steamy air with the scent and aide in decongestion. Have your child play in the warm bath for 15-20 minutes.
2. Use a Nettie pot to clear the sinuses and kill viruses if your child is old enough to tolerate it.
3. Use a humidifier with Frankincense and Lavender at night.
4. Make sure your child is well hydrated and avoid dairy products while they have a sinus headache.
5. Belladonna 30C is effective for complaints of headache where the head feels full, swollen, and throbbing.
6. If any nasal discharge is present whether clear, yellow, or green, Kali Bichromicum 30C is a safe and effective homeopathic remedy treatment for children.
7. If your child continues to have sinus headaches, food or environmental allergies could be the cause. In this case a naturopathic or homeopathic physician should be contacted to guide long term treatment protocols.
Headaches in the back of the head
Pains in the back of the head are often emotional in origin. Can you think of something going on in your child’s life that could be causing stress such as starting at a new school or changes in the family dynamics?
Just like that old saying “You are giving me a headache,” your child could be having a very real headache from something that is upsetting them. This type of headache is usually felt as a tension headache or tight band that wraps around the back of the head.
Natural ways to treat tension headaches in children:
1. Take the time to stop what you are doing and provide emotional support to your little one. Sit down with them, cuddle, talk, and provide comforting reassurance. Your child needs your love, affection, and genuine support.
2. Seek the help of a chiropractor if the headache keeps reoccurring and also keep an eye on their posture as poor posture can contribute to tension headaches.
3. Rub diluted peppermint essential oil on the temples and back of the neck if your child is older than the age of 6.
4. Draw a warm Epsom salt bath and have your little one soak while you read a story to him. The extra magnesium helps ease headaches and muscle tension
5. Simplify your weekly to do list to allow for extra rest.
Headaches on the side of the head
Pain on the side of the head is often due to migraines. Migraines are very rare in kids younger than 10 years old. When they do occur, they are usually hereditary or allergic in origin.
Natural ways to treat migraine headaches in children:
1. Start by eliminating one major food allergen at a time to try and pinpoint if any of these are causing the migraines. The major offenders are wheat and dairy.
2. Eliminate processed foods, especially foods with nitrates and MSG as these can cause migraines and a host of other health problems.
3. Encourage regular exercise in your children as this helps to decrease the frequency of migraines.
4. Help your kids get more vitamin D by allowing them to be out in the sunshine every day.
5. Increase their intake of magnesium in the form of food such as spinach, swiss chard, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and black beans.
The most important thing you can do for your child complaining of headaches is be a present parent and exemplify a gentle calming nature. Pain is exaggerated by fear and your presence will make your little one feel at ease. I have vivid memories of my own mother laying with me and rubbing my head when I was sick as a child. Her presence allowed me to drift to sleep because I know I was under her capable, watchful eye.
Natural Medicine and Cures Your Doctor Never Tells You About. (1995). Frank W. Cawood and Associates.
The Family Guide to Homeopathy. (1989). Andrew Lockie.
How to Raise a Health Child in Spite of your Doctor. (1984). Robert S. Mendelsohn.
Homeopathy for Mommies: A Family Guide for the Acute Use of Homeopathy. (2014). Sue M
Hey everyone! I’m Liv, a registered nurse and blogger at The Cheeky Mommy. As someone who has taken part in many patients’ final chapters, I have realized that conventional medicine is not about creating health, it is about managing disease. I am passionate about clean living, organic eating, and finding happiness through simplicity. I believe that the key to raising healthy children starts at home, with a mom who has the courage to question the status quo and do the research to heal common family ailments with natural remedies.
I would love to connect with you! You can learn more about me on my blog The Cheeky Mommy.