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Anxious child = frequent headaches?

(4 Posts)
Itsnothingoriginal Mon 20-Mar-17 20:56:42

My dd (9) has mild Cerebral Palsy and gets very frequent headaches and tummy pain. I think this is possibly being caused by high levels of anxiety but I don't know how to help her to manage this effectively to try and reduce the headaches.

It's not unknown for her to spend all day on a Sunday crying and worrying about school the next day. I also think she also gets very tired trying to keep up with her peers and what is expected of her at school.

I wondered if anyone else had experience of dealing with a very anxious child and had some useful strategies to help? Also if this could be linked in some way to her other neurological issues?

eskimomama Tue 21-Mar-17 21:22:26

Can she verbalise her anxiety?
Perhaps a psychologist could help to find strategies for school-related anxiety?

My DD (non verbal ASD) had frequent headaches and tummy pains for such a long time (age 3 to 6), but I don't think it was only anxiety related. Doctors can be keen to give anxiety meds for this but I always felt it was the wrong solution (not addressing the core issue, and ignoring the neurological aspect).

For tummy pains we worked with a nutritionist and identified a few things she was sensitive to (long story, but always individual), and added probiotics. It helped a lot. You can tell by the bowel movements quite quickly (does your DD have constipation or diarrhea?).

For headaches, we found nothing better than Advil when a headache was starting. I tried all sorts of things (massages, homeopathy, even essential oils), but because DD is non verbal I could never know where and how much it hurt.

I'm more familiar with ASD than cerebral palsy, but personally I strongly believe that despite the obvious anxiety our kids MUST feel with school and everything else, the neurological aspect of such co-morbid issues is too often just neglected.

Itsnothingoriginal Tue 21-Mar-17 22:28:55

Thanks so much for the reply which is very helpful. I think first thing I'll do is to chase up with school about the Ed Psych appt that we were offered 6 months or so ago. She is verbal but she just completely withdraws when she's feeling really anxious and this is what worries me.

I hadn't actually considered food triggers but is also worth looking into. She does have some issues with loose bowels and bladder control so there is likely a link. I will ask our paed about this when we next see her.

eskimomama Wed 22-Mar-17 21:10:51

At the very least the paed should address the headaches. We were offered an MRI scan but it didn't show anything as they were looking for big things like cysts and tumors, but if the headaches are causing too much pain they have to be investigated. We had to say that she had them constantly, including at night, to be taken more seriously.

I can understand the withdrawing as it's very difficult for any child to express their anxiety, I hope you find competent psychologists who understand how to speak with her about this. They might have techniques to make her feel more comfortable, maybe they'll ask you to leave the room too.

I always found GPs rubbish with tummy pains caused by food intolerances. Maybe more useful to work with a (clued in) nutritionnist.
Good luck!

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