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Possible causes of regular headaches for children?(16 Posts)
Hi, I have a situation where I wanted to get some advice from experienced parents, as I did not want to worry myself too much. My daughter who is 8 now had a fever and temperature which was quite bad about a week ago. I managed it using Paracetamol/Ibuprofen and wet towels and loads of fluids. The usual stuff. Anyway, the fever and temperature slowly came down and is not so bad now and has almost gone after about 7-10 days. However, she has consistently had headaches almost everyday for the last week or so and a slight temperature. These headaches come and go. They will be here one hour and then they will be gone the next and then they will come back 2 hours later.
I know children don't always know how to describe issues. So I have asked her if she is sure if it is a headache. Half the time she seems okay. I took her to the doctor on the first occasion, and they thought what I thought, which is that its most likely seasonal virus and it will go automatically within 1 week or so. They asked me to give a urine sample. Which I did. They didn't find anything of concern in the urine test. The second time I went, we agreed that she would do an eye test for glasses - which she will do this Monday - and if her sight is okay, then a blood test would need to be submitted. I am also trying to limit how much time she is spending on the iPad etc so that I can eliminate that as the cause of the headache. I have tried to send her to school, but she was sent home on 2 or 3 days as she wasn't feeling well. I get the feeling the school may be thinking that I don't want to look after her at home so I'm sending her in!
Anyway, I feel 75% confident that this is something that will probably go by itself in a week or two because she seems okay half the time, and its just taking a bit of time. However, I am also aware that parents/doctors can often miss serious issues for simple things. And her headaches seem to be getting worse! As I said I don't to worry too much and cause myself to panic. I am worrying without even trying ;)
So, what I want to know is what are the possible causes of regular headaches in children? I tried to search online for answers, but there wasn't any consistency or good ones that I felt confident in. I realise you are not doctors, and parents like me. I am just asking for your opinion based on your past experience and what you have read.
Well you are doing all the right things I think
As she is 8 it's unlikely to be hormonal
Yes to getting her eyes checked- I always get headaches when my prescription has changed
It does seem worrying they are happening so often...any issues at school? Bullying?
I suffer from migraines which came on with recurring cluster headaches when I was about 8. I got help from my GP after keeping a diary of my headaches for a few months. I would go and discuss with GP at this stage and start a diary.
I used to get regular headaches and it turned out I needed glasses. I also had poor posture as i developed breasts requiring a bra by age 10 and was hunching over to minimise. The doctor told me to practise standing up tall. I got glasses and eventually learnt to deal with big boobs.
The fact that your DD is getting these headaches after having an illness could mean it's just the virus still lurking, they can take a while to completely go.
My first thought would be dehydration, then eyesight.
This is useful info OP, from.Highland Spring.
Sorry, try this. Previous link was for the PDF.
DS had regular headaches and ended up with an MRI scan, full eye tests in opthalmic dept of hospital and EEG (he was still having febrile convulsions at 8) and it turned out to be sinus infection which the mri picked up. He didnt have other symptoms ie nose was clear but it went on for about 6 months until he had two lots of anti biotics to clear it up
I was also going to suggest dehydration & possible sinus headache.
I would expect them to pick up on any serious dehydration with the urine test, but as she has been feverish, so sweating & perhaps sneezy/runny nose? So losing fluid. I would suggest looking at increasing her fluid AND tissue salts such as magnesium, potassium etc. One of the best things for this is Coconut Water, it's nice, but if she won't drink it, mix it into a favourite smoothie.
Sinus headaches get worse if you bend over,so get her to touch her toes & then ask her how her headache feels - if it's worse, then yes, it will be most likely a sinus infection. Though doctors are generally reluctant to give out antibiotics for these unless it's hanging on for more than a few weeks. In normal healthy sinuses, it will clear up on its own, but you can help it along with steam inhalation & sinus pressure point massage - there's lots of tutorials for this on YouTube
I just love this forum. There I was thinking, I wasn't getting any replies, and now I log in at 2am, and I got tons ;)... its like London buses.
@Badders123, because its happening quite regularly, especially at night or late evening, its worrying me. Secondly, yes there are bullying issues. However, I don't think its related. I really hope not. I told her she can come to me about anything. And she does tell me that there kids who pick on her. But I get the feeling this maybe a separate issue.
@FellOutOfBedTwice, a diary sounds like a good idea. I need to get to the bottom of the problem. I am taking her out of her environment for the weekend to see if it helps. I am going to stay at my sisters for the weekend. She has a daughter similar age. I can then see if it makes any difference. At the moment, its just me and my daughter in the house, so it's hard to say.
@Pandopops, I am over doing it with fluids, because she used to suffer from urine infection when she was very young, where she needed to visit the hospital a few times, so we make sure she always drinks plenty of water, and I watch her drink it every day. So I hope its not dehydration. I'll have a read of the link anyway. It can't hurt.
@bruffin, I hope I don't have to go through a situation like you have described (again). I went through another situation with her health and NHS. I found it very frustrating. The doctors or the system is excellent if its a simple problem they can see. However, from my experience, they are terrible when they have to invest serious time into investigation and research. In those situations, as a parent, if you don't become a detective, you are pretty screwed.
@RockinHippy, as its more then one of you suggesting dehydration, then I will give it a go. I will increase her fluids and do the tests you mentioned. I was expecting doctors to give her at least antibiotics on her second visit. They did not offer anything, not even a Paracetamol or Ibuprofen prescription. I used to remember, they used to always offer me antibiotics whenever I used to get the winter viruses, thats as an adult. I would have expected them to offer it even more with children. Should I ask for antibiotics?
On a operate note, are prescriptions free for children, even though I am a working parent and don't get anything from the state?
Yes prescriptions are free until age 16 or 18 of in ft education.
I was bullied at school, and would say I had headaches to stay off. I'm not saying your dd is doing the same but it's s possibility I would not dismiss.
If you suffered from migraines then there's a possibility she could too.
Perhaps ask the dr for a referral to a paediatrician?
My youngest son has to take migraine meds and he is only 7
Diary is a good idea (but my sons pain followed no pattern at all, sadly)
Some nasty viruses around atm - could be post viral
Hope she feels better soon
No ones mentioned teeth? Worth a dental trip.
used to remember, they used to always offer me antibiotics whenever I used to get the winter viruses, thats as an adult. I would have expected them to offer it even more with children. Should I ask for antibiotics?
Things have changed with antibiotic, in that they now know that over prescribing leads to resistant bacteria, plus not good for the gut etc, as kills both good & bad bacteria. so GPs no longer give them out very easily. A healthy body will recover from most minor infections without antibiotics.
Though as you say your daughter has other health problems. If there's anything that compromises her immune system, then yes, do ask. If not, maybe think about giving her some Spirulina, which you can get in compressed pill form. It's packed full of vitamins & minerals, plus an immune booster, so I've always found that it can help shake off a virus or infection.
Just a thought as you mention other health problems (& boy can I relate to your comments on NHS doctors) my daughter has a condition that amongst other things makes her extra flexible (Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility) I've found that this makes her prone to both tension headaches & postural headaches. Especially so if she has been laid up ill in bed hunched over a screen or book for longer than usual. I've found a trip to see our chiropractor can help a lot with postural headaches (& lots more) Tension headaches could be brought on over worrying over bullying. My daughter has been through that too & if she was off school for a while, going back & facing the bullying, would have her anxious & worrying all night, which would cause headaches. Her headaches were real, but stress related.
Just a thought with your worries over urine infections. I give mine a concentrated cranberry supplement every day. This has stopped any UTIs, which she was prone to. There is science behind why cranberry works.
I hope she is better soon & a break with her cousin lifts her spirits
If your daughter had a viral infection than antibiotics are useless. They (antibiotics) only work on bacteria.
If your daughter is becoming photosensitive when she gets these headaches then I would be concerned. While they may be related to a migraine predisposition I would get her checked out at your local A & E just to be on the safe side.
Hello Everyone Again,
Another late night reply.
@Badders123, thanks for your points. I wasn't bullied at school. So although I try and empathise with her, if I am honest, I don't get it completely. Although like everyone else I have seen enough TV, and read enough stories to know the misery that bullies can cause. I do know very well how it feels to be different, and feel alone. So I try and connect with her from that point of view even if I wasn't bullied. Secondly, I know kids can be cruel. But one thing she has said repeatedly is that girls are so stupid compared to boys. I think she finds that girls pick on things and are into gossip, hopefully I am not stereotyping, whereas boys her age are more into football or the latest trainers. I know she doesn't like girls her age, and she prefers kids older. The truth is I keep telling myself that she is only 8! Can it really be that bad at 8?
However, something she said a few weeks ago made me realise how cunning kids that age can be. Some of her so called friends told her that when you come to our house with your parents, we will be nice to be and pretend to be your friends, but actually we are not your friends, and we don't like you.
What makes all of this confusing is that she used lie over small stuff before. She has stopped that a lot now. But sometimes I am not 100% sure. I feel I have an open and close relationship with my daughter - I will always be an old man to her - and she does come to with most things, and we do stuff together. However, she has begged me not to approach her school about the other kids. I have emailed her school about her illness and my thoughts on possible bullying, but I told them not to approach her about this subject without letting me know first.
I hope its not bullying. I don't think it is related. Whether its related or not, I have long term plans of home schooling her anyway, the are other reasons as well, but I don't want to get into that right now.
I did monitor her this weekend while we were at my sisters. She did still get the headaches at night, but because she was entertained as she had other children to play with, she didn't make too much of an issue out of it, apart from just before going to bed, when the headaches normally come on. By the way, she is an only child, so she loves being around other children.
@RockinHippy, I think what you said about antibiotics is similar to what I read about it some time ago, I think there may have even been a Panorama documentary or something about it!
Her other illnesses were urine or bladder related. For some reason she used to get cystitis like symptoms when she was very young like 3. Most people associate it with adult women (I think). I know my mother and my sisters suffer from it and you are right, they swear by cranberry juice. However, with her lots of fluids everyday has somehow meant we haven't had an incident in couple of years. So I know you are right about Cranberry juice.
Oh, the other thing she has, is a pop belly. When she was in her mum's stomach, before birth, doctors told us she would have a pop belly. So she is overweight or obese, although she has the usual puppy fat that kids have, but just her belly is a bit pop. I know this sounds horrible, but you know you sometimes see those charity adverts from Africa with malnutrition kids, who have a swollen belly. Well hers is a bit like that, but its not anything to do with those reasons. She has had many checks. I worry about her getting teased when she is a teenager. I feel kids will say she is pregnant or something. I am looking at possible solutions and exercise.
Regarding the NHS, I truly have a real love hate relationship with it. I am definitely not well off. However, I was very close to paying I think something like £250 a month for Bupa family healthcare insurance. I was that frustrated.
Here is an example, I was at an A&E at 3am. I wait obviously several hours before being seen. Then once the doctor sees us, he just takes our verbal description and tries to write a prescription. I lost it. I was shocked that he hasn't even checked her. He tried to make an excuse that because she is a child, and all the rubbish about inappropriate touching (thats what he was inferring to). I said I am the parent, and I am in front of you, and I am asking you to check her, and don't use excuses like that not to do your job properly. I think I started recording him using my phone (voice only). I work on online projects, and I wanted to publish it (I have lost it since). However, when I did try and make a formal complaint at reception, I felt like I had hit a brick wall, I got the feeling, the doctor had given the reception staff a heads up. I wasn't aggressive, I didn't swear or anything, I just made him aware that I knew thats not a professional way to deal with patients. Even after being what I call reasonable, I was treated like a troublemaker.
Having said all the above, I know my personal doctor, who I have used for many years, has bent over backwards to help me in many situations. But he is a spiritual guy, and I think looks at it as more than a job.
Regarding your daughter, I have no idea how parents like you do it. Seriously, I really take my hat off. I feel like a part-time dad if that makes any sense. I am just shocked by the number of parents I hear with unhappy (often bully related) children at school. I have been looking at solutions around this and the wider issue.
@OzzieFem, why would being photosensitive concern you more than normal? I always assumed all migraines or headaches are like that!
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