how to help my child with migraines
November 26, 2008 4:39 PM   Subscribe

My 10 year old daughter periodically gets headaches and vomiting. These happen maybe once a month, but it can last all day. Have you found anything that can bring relief?

She's had a clean bill of health from the doctors. MRI, Nutritionist, Neurologist, blood work, etc. Can't find the triggers via food diary, etc.

Her headaches are not crippling, but they are pretty uncomfortable. The neurologist thinks they are migraines. They appear to be hereditary. She doesn't get them enough to warrant daily medication.

When she starts vomiting, she usually vomits for several hours. We've got a suppository to help reduce the vomiting, but they don't always work. If she's vomiting, she can't always keep down ibuprofen. Tylenol doesn't seem to do much. She tries to drink Gatorade or Coke or Ginger ale, but nothing is consistent.

Have you gone through this, and have you found anything for your child that alleviates/prevents them?

Thank you.
posted by GernBlandston to Health & Fitness (40 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well the first question is, if they are migraines, has she tried a triptan medication, like Imitrex or Relpax? Did they work?
posted by barnone at 4:42 PM on November 26, 2008

After a brief search of journals, it appears that the nasal spray version of triptans is often used with children. They're not cheap, but work especially well because the dose isn't screwed up if you vomit. Have you tried those? That class of drugs isn't for everyone, but it has been phenomenal for me and a number of my migraine-suffering friends.
posted by barnone at 4:51 PM on November 26, 2008

Bless her heart, they sure do sound like migraines.

If she's old enough, I've got a combination that has worked for me, and it's relatively benign as far as side effects go. It's basically home-brewed Excedrin Migraine, except that you can play with the mix to find out what works best.

The basic recipe is one or two aspirin, one Tylenol (acetaminophen), and one NoDoz (yep, caffeine is an analgesic, or pain killer).

Of course IANAD, but this works for me and a lot of other folks. The good news is that, as she gets older, she may outgrow these.

Take good care of your baby.
posted by dinger at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2008

(ianad, etc) ) Sounds like migraine.
I've had them since about that same age too..debilitating as hell..

>She doesn't get them enough to warrant daily medication.

compounds like Imetrex are taken only at the onset of the headache (ask your dr)
(imetrex is my god, it changed (saved?) my life.

one other note, as a lifelong migraneur, ~nothing~ had ever worked for me besides imetrex.
not aspirin, not tylenol, not "Excedrine Migraine" (yea right..) ...none of it.
posted by The_Auditor at 5:10 PM on November 26, 2008

Help her identify any prodromal symptoms, so she can go into prevention/mitigation mode immediately.

Communicate with her school; make sure she's allowed to stop all activity and go to a quiet dark place as soon as needed. Make sure you're notified as soon as she does this. There may be questions at some point about whether she's abusing this "privilege", but just believe her. Insist that her school does also.

There are ibuprofren suppositories (can be made by a pharmacist), and often a person can take a pill before the actual pain and nausea begin, and 1 ibuprofren and an antiemetic tablet can be tried. If she's got any nausea at all, don't tempt fate; have her use the suppository route.

Many people do better if they don't lay down, but semi-recline, relaxed with head above heart. Keep her warm; more than the usual blanket. Lots of blankets. Warm, warm warm.

Try to make the place she's resting as scent and odor-free as possible.

If a migraine lasts longer than usual, or is markedly worse than usual, have a child's dose of a Demerol/Phenergan (or other appropriate alternatives) suppository on hand. Her pediatrician will likely not suggest this, but will also likely prescribe if the need is clearcut.

My daughter was finally diagnosed with migraine at the age of 2. Up until then, there was investigation of a possible brain tumour, and she was also dismissed as being a "cranky child".

The strategies above all made her childhood migraine easier to cope with. Imitrex-like medications worsened her migraines; that's also the case with the migraines I get.

I hope that, as happens often with childhood migraine, that after puberty the incidences lessen.

My empathy and good wishes to you and to your daughter.
posted by reflecked at 5:11 PM on November 26, 2008

The neurologist did not recommend her taking Imitrex or Relpax. I can't remember if he said that they were not yet regulated for children or what the reason was.

She gets these maybe once a month. I just want to know why and if there is something I can do to help prevent them.

Sometimes I wonder if she has a vomiting problem because of a weak stomach or something that's accompanied by a headache.
posted by GernBlandston at 5:13 PM on November 26, 2008

My little sister got migraines like that when she was younger and she either grew out of them or they went away when she got her braces taken off. Does she have braces?
posted by artychoke at 5:14 PM on November 26, 2008

The basic recipe is one or two aspirin, one Tylenol (acetaminophen), and one NoDoz (yep, caffeine is an analgesic, or pain killer).

Don't give aspirin to a kid - the results can be nasty. I would second the recommendation of caffeine and Tylenol, though.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 5:15 PM on November 26, 2008

She does not have braces.
posted by GernBlandston at 5:16 PM on November 26, 2008

Whatever she ends up taking, she'll ideally want to take it before the headache or vomiting start, especially if she's taking something orally that she would vomit up. Have her watch for symptoms that she gets an hour or two before the pain starts. This would be things like sensitivity to light, an unusually sensitive sense of smell, or visual auras. If she can take her medicine at that point rather than waiting for the pain it won't be nearly as bad.

Another vote for "she may outgrow them." I had terrible and frequent migrains as a teenager and now only have mild, short-lived ones ones once a month.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:18 PM on November 26, 2008

Usually, if she indicates any headache at all, we immediately give her ibuprofen (liquid).
posted by GernBlandston at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2008

Also, she sometimes wakes up with headaches (as she did today) and, though it was not particularly bad, she vomited about 5 times today. We ruled out cysts with the MRI.
posted by GernBlandston at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2008

If they're monthly, do they go with her cycle? If so, could her doctor put her on some hormone-based prevention regimen?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:23 PM on November 26, 2008

If you get migraines that are treated with basic pain meds and/or caffeine, that's great. But for folks with killer migraines that result in vomiting for an entire day, that stuff just does NOTHING, literally nothing. Names like "Excedrin Migraine" make us laugh. For those of us like that, the only solution is figuring out the very very early warning signs and taking a triptan. This constricts the blood vessels and can halt the headache. But if you take it too late, the effectiveness is drastically lowered and can sometimes take another dose. Signs vary by person - sometimes it's as simple as "my head feels funny", sometimes it's a certain taste, sometimes it's an aura, etc. Once you start to notice them, trust them and ALWAYS take the pill. Sometimes I bargain with myself, "it's just my neck, it's a $20 pill, don't worry." ALWAYS a mistake.

Biofeedback has shown to be useful too, and might be good with a kid.

Your daughter's might be hormonal too, and ultimately tied to her menstrual cycle, which is a fairly common situation for women. Once you figure out if it's tied to that (when she gets her first period, start tracking that with her migraines), you can take triptans the day or two before your period as both a preventative and early migraine treatment. There are other short-term preventatives too, but I'm not sure how they're prescribed to kids. Has she gotten her period yet?

In addition, don't underestimate the stress of these headaches - the threat of getting one and how shitty it feels can be its own demon. I'd really look into trying a triptan under the care of a pediatrician or headache specialist -- get a second opinion on those drugs, at the very least.

This is not a bad intro to migraines.
posted by barnone at 5:26 PM on November 26, 2008

Sometimes I wonder if she has a vomiting problem because of a weak stomach or something that's accompanied by a headache.

Migranes are often accompanied by vomiting. It probably has very little to do with her having a weak stomach.

That said, if you can catch the migrane early and remove her from triggers or things that will exacerbate it, like bright light, you might be able to reduce the amount of vomiting she has.

Has the doctor identified any triggers that might be causing the migranes in the first place?
posted by elfgirl at 5:27 PM on November 26, 2008

Does she get any kind of aura or other symptoms that can clue her or others that a headache is coming? I get very pale so my husband will sometimes ask me if I'm having an aura before my headache hits - I tend to be spacey at that point so may not figure it out myself. If she is getting an aura she should be taking meds at that point before any pain starts. I don't know about using tryptans in a child - can't take them myself. As you know treating the headache as early as possible is important.

One thing that I found very helpful in dealing with migraines was learning to do biofeedback to change bloodflow. Since migraines are at least partly vascular headaches making one's hands or feet warmer can help. If you can seek treatment for her at a headache center you may be able to find help with this. I've been able to teach my daughter how to do it a bit as well which did seem to help her deal with her migraines as a ~12 year old. You can also try coldpack on nape of neck or forehead with warmed blanket or bean/rice filled pillow to hold in hands to change circulation. Hard to combine with throwing up to be sure! It's the pits when a child has to go through this.
posted by leslies at 5:33 PM on November 26, 2008

She does not experience any kind of aura or related symptoms. Just the headache.
posted by GernBlandston at 5:35 PM on November 26, 2008

Those were my symptoms exactly, starting at around the age of 8 or 9. Migraines were harder to diagnose then (at least in Bosnia), and it took me years, YEARS!, to lessen their effects. (I got them about 3 or 4 times a month.)

For me, they were tied to:

1) Mental stress, to which I was always prone.

2) Lack of adequate sleep.

3) Weather - the coming of a rainstorm system was a big factor. Humidity in general was too.

4) Diet - Some foods, like chocolate, yellow cheeses, nuts and seeds increased my chances of getting a migraine.

5) Caffeine - One addicted, skipping a day really, really increased the odds of a migraine.

6) Allergies - I have a couple, like cinnamon. Eating food with cinnamon was a bad idea.

It took me more than two decades to *almost* eliminate migraines by avoiding the above, or controlling them as much as I can. 4, 5 and 6 I can manage. I work hard to ensure I get enough sleep. I'm better at controlling stress. 3 is kind of the wild card. But I only get about 2 migraines a year (mostly, I suspect, due to lack of sleep) because I'm pretty hardcore about what I can control.

Hormones didn't seem to be a factor. Birth control pills were supposed to help; they didn't make a bit of difference. Imitrex helped only if I took it when I felt I might get a migraine - which was tough to predict before it happened. It didn't do a thing once I had one.

I found vomiting helped me sleep, and the migraine was gone after 8 hours of sleep. I have no idea why! Being in a chilly, very dark and very quiet room helped. Head massages helped.

My heart goes out to anyone - particularly kids - who suffer from migraine!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:38 PM on November 26, 2008

Hi, yeah this happens. My dad gets migraines, I inherited them. My earliest memory is of having a migraine - I was 18 months old. I had them horribly regularly through my childhood, with the couple of years before I started menstruating (10-12) being the worst. I remember one summer I got them once a week.

So, triggers for me included: low blood sugar, overheating, too much sun and dehydration. Everyone is different, of course, but it's worth watching out to see if there are any patterns. Could she keep a journal of a few basic things like: did I sleep well last night, was it hot out, did I go a long time without food? Just monitoring some stuff might give her more of a sense of control. For me, things got somewhat better after I was able to explain to teachers that no I could *not* sit out in the hot playground for an hour at lunch, and I needed *water* to drink, not whatever orange-chemical thing they were pushing. Also, everything that reflecked said is true.

I don't know if this will be any kind of comfort to you, but the self-advocacy skills I learned as a migraineur child have stayed with me throughout life. As has a certain meditative acceptance of pain: one learns how to be still and quiet and breathe through the pain, and that turns out to be quite valuable in life.

Perhaps more comforting: I have mostly grown out of them. I still get a bad one about once every six months, but other than that, and as long as I don't go on any six-mile hikes in baking sun with no water or snacks, I'm good.
posted by acalthla at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2008

My Mom's migraines were caused by food allergies. It took her a while to find a doctor that believed her after she noticed the pattern, because she wouldn't react until the next day. The did tests on her, found out what she was allergic to (a lot of things, but the most common were tomatoes and shellfish) she stopped eating the things on the list, and the migraines went away.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:43 PM on November 26, 2008

Also, from experience only (not a doctor), it's the migraine giving her a 'weak stomach' and not the other way around. There's something about migraines where once I start vomiting like that and can't keep anything down, it's really hard to stop.

And if the vomiting itself provides relief (it does for some), there is an inclination just to "barf and get it over with." But then the stomach kind of keeps being queasy, and it's hard to stop the cycle.

And if you've ever had a terrible flu that involved vomiting, you know how the next few weeks your stomach still feels a little 'off' and you're more sensitive than usual? It's like that for her, only every month. So stopping the migraines will really go a long way to help the sensitive stomach.

Good luck, it's such a pain in the arse. But if she knows you're trying to help her, it'll go a long way. I'd *really* advise talking to another doctor about triptans. Keep a good diary about weather, food, sleep, stress, periods (when applicable). You WILL find something that works for you and your daughter!
posted by barnone at 5:44 PM on November 26, 2008

Oh yes, also, you really need to let her figure out what works for her, during and after a migraine. Some people want cool rooms, some warm rooms, some want to eat after they've vomited, some want to drink a glass of water, some want nothing. I know someone who eats a specific kind of gummi worms after a migraine, which she says help her get back on her feet.

My mom was always horrified that I wanted to eat within 20 minutes of vomiting during a migraine; she thought it was like a stomach bug vomiting, and that eating would make it worse. Migraine vomiting is not a sign of a weak stomach, or like a stomach bug. These days, if I vomit with a migraine I have little toast and honey (to help the low blood sugar) and I get better much more quickly.
posted by acalthla at 5:45 PM on November 26, 2008

As everyone's already said, migraine. I've had them since I was very young, too. I used to throw up from them, and haven't since I was 15 (although I've been really, really close - and I do not throw up easily at all). When I tried to figure out why I stopped throwing up from my migraines, the only thing that seems like a possibility is that I learned to recognize them earlier and to give up and go to bed in a quiet, dark room as soon as I notice - or to take Excedrin if I can, which won't be a possibility for your daughter for a couple more years.

The problem is it's hard to learn to recognize them and then to get your mind around the fact that you really do need to stop everything and can't just ignore the headache or its beginnings and keep going. And it may take a while for her to learn to recognize these early. If it's any comfort, she probably feels somewhat better once she throws up. And if she can't have other medications yet, try Tylenol PM or plain old Benadryl at the first sign or as soon as she can keep it down. Sleeping will often knock the damned things out.
posted by dilettante at 5:46 PM on November 26, 2008

I started getting migraines around age 7. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I learned that sugar was the trigger.

Eating (or drinking) sugar bumps one's blood sugar up, then down. There's been research that in some migraineurs, the blood sugar crash can trigger symptoms - here's one explanation. I was a highly-sugared kid, and I'm definitely one of these people - now that I eat a sugar-free diet, I am migraine-free. Of course, it took almost 30 years to figure that out!

I'd recommend cutting out the Gatorade, Coke, and ginger ale, as well as other sweets and processed foods, from her diet.

Good luck to you and to her - having been through the endless rounds of tests and doctors, to no avail, as both a kid and an adult, I can sympathize.
posted by chez shoes at 6:25 PM on November 26, 2008

There are treatments for pediatric migraines. Without commenting on whether that is your kid's diagnosis, I would say that generally if a kid has migraines that regularly, some treatment, either prophylactic or abortive, should be used, and there are enough of them out there that some effort should be made to see that the treatment is effective.

In other words, maybe another neurologist is what you really need.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:26 PM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh man, I feel for her. I get migraines too. I would say that what works for me is timing. I just take asprin and a medication called Mersyndol when I get the aura headache (lots of hallucinogenic aural and sensory nastiness which lasts about an hour) and if I make it on time, I can prevent the full-blown vomitting horror from even starting. She'll learn over time what her triggers are (for me it's exceesive light, noise, smell or sound when I've let myself get run down and over tired), and what the signs are (such as the aura I get). I think for me the nausea is caused in part by the fact that the aura which proceeds the whole thing basically gives me motion sickness, so that's what the Mersyndol is for.

Help her manage her lifestyle too - a little balance, rest and fun doesn't go astray. My doctor is convinced (annecdoatally) that a certain personality type is more likely to suffer from migraines - the busybusybusy ambitiously overcommited no-cracks-in-the-armour type.
posted by lottie at 6:58 PM on November 26, 2008

When I was her age I ended up at the doctors several times getting fluids and some kind of anti emetic injected because I would throw up for days on end. And go mostly blind, completely space out and have no detectable blood pressure. I didn't get migraines as frequently but they flattened me when I did get them. Anyways I had headaches all through adolescence but they've been getting less and less frequent as I get older.

The main thing with migraines is that they are different for everyone. Probably the main thing for me is sun and bright lights - when I got old enough to start to wear sunglasses my headaches decreased markedly. Maybe try buying her some shades.

Imitrex makes me feel worse, Excedrin is a miracle cure for me and I tried every medication in the book before I found it- it works better than Vicodin for pain relief. My dad, otoh, swears by Imitrex. Ibuprofen is pretty useless imho, at least try excedrin if your doctor wants to stay away from the prescription stuff.

btw, one of the major triggers in kids is supposedly constipation. At least according to my childhood doctor who was really very good. Not me (it was bright lights usually) but maybe look into that possibility.
posted by fshgrl at 7:08 PM on November 26, 2008

In the middle ages (I've read somewhere), people used to tightly bind their heads with a cord -- around the forehead and the back of the head -- to treat headaches. I tried this, and it was surprisingly helpful. I'm not sure if I tried it for a migraine per se, but I do get them. Relatively mild ones, I believe, but with the throwing up part included.

Other things that have helped: standing in the shower, with the water hitting the painful part of my head, and alternating very warm/hot water and coldish water for a few cycles. Not sure it helped the vomiting, though.

Also - my symptoms seem worse, and always have, when I weigh least. If she's exceedingly skinny (and this is completely unscientific), she could try gaining 5 pounds.
posted by amtho at 7:12 PM on November 26, 2008

Oh yes, avoiding bright sun in the eyes. I didn't discover sunglasses until rather late in life, and they are also surprisingly helpful. Get polarized ones.

Being overheated also can contribute, and it's cumulative: being "too warm" for several hours can be a trigger, just as being "way way too hot" for perhaps a shorter time.
posted by amtho at 7:14 PM on November 26, 2008

That's regular enough to warrant some prophylactic treatment. You should specifically see a pediatric neurologist, as they are more likely to be comfortable with and knowledgeable about treating headaches in children (i.e., less chance of a brush off).
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:41 PM on November 26, 2008

The basic recipe is one or two aspirin, one Tylenol (acetaminophen), and one NoDoz (yep, caffeine is an analgesic, or pain killer).

200 milligrams of caffeine fed to a kid is going to make her bounce off the ceiling.

And caffeine is not an analgesic. The reason they include it in things like Excedrin and Anacin is that headache is a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.
posted by Class Goat at 7:41 PM on November 26, 2008

I'm betting these are hormonally related. (I get hormone headaches myself, and I have nausea with them.)

See if she can start recognizing them when they first start and take something immediately, before the headache actually sets in. Also, she should make sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated and eat breakfast every day.

Also, for me the only thing that helps me get rid of them are a) sleeping and b) bag of frozen peas to the head.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:06 PM on November 26, 2008

This is based only on my experience, as I'm not a doctor or scientist.

After years of being plagued by migraines + vomiting several times a month, I found that increasing my intake of magnesium (lots more dark leafy greens, beans, and pumpkin seeds, plus a supplement) made a big difference. I'm not completely free of migraines, but it's more like once or twice a year now, and they're a lot less severe.
posted by creepygirl at 9:55 PM on November 26, 2008

Have you thought of keeping a diary of her eating habits? This may not be it at all, but it could be that she has some sort of food allergy (or a combination of them) that is coming up every so often. Allergy testing might provide some information for you.

An old friend of mine had horrendous migraines when she was younger, and it turned out she was allergic to a number of different things. The migraines went away for her once she knew to stay away from the things she was allergic to.

Again, this might not be your daughter's case, but it's a possibility. I think it's a common problem for both people having medical issues and doctors to not think outside the box and instead just treat the symptoms of another problem. That's especially problematic, considering how many medications have side effects themselves.
posted by metalheart at 10:56 PM on November 26, 2008

Has your neurologist talked to you about epilepsy? Did your daughter have an EEG? A clean MRI does not rule out epilepsy. My daughter had these exact symptoms - migraines and vomiting, as often as once per month - starting about the age of 5. We tried avoiding triggers, giving the Excedrin-like combination, etc, and they only stopped after she was diagnosed with epilepsy (following an EEG) and on medication. Some of the drugs used to treat epilepsy are also used to treat non-seizure-related migraines, but in my daughter's case the migraines were an aftereffect of the seizures.

There are many types of seizures that do not fit the image of falling-down-and-convulsing that most people think of as 'epilepsy.' Absence seizures and partial seizures often pass unnoticed or are mistaken for daydreaming or another kind of altered state. So you wouldn't necessarily have a clue that seizures might be happening. But your doctors should have considered the possibility. I suggest asking your doctors if they have ruled out epilepsy, and seeking out a pediatric neurologist if you've been seeing one who does not specialize in children.
posted by expialidocious at 11:11 PM on November 26, 2008

Go to another doctor. Ikkyu2 has it right; treatments exist for children.

Also, you want to know why and you need to accept that you may never know why they're triggered. Your daughter may have some sense of it, but have trouble articulating why, or be afraid to for some reason.

I've had migraines since toddler-hood, some with vomiting and dry-heaves that continued long enough to take me to the emergency room. In my case as with a few others above, contributors were lack of sleep, blood sugar drops, dehydration and sometimes stress. I figured out early on that lack of sleep and not eating were factors, but as a child I would have been punished for picky eating or staying up too late to read, so I never told my mother why they sometimes happened. At other times there were no clear and obvious reasons for a migraine.

As other people have noted, ibuprofen at normal doses is absolutely useless, and any kind of treatment is much more effective if given before pain has taken strong hold. Treatments should be taken at the very first signs, and your daughter should be told this. Cold helps slow down the advance of pain (icepacks to the head), but only very slightly.

And caffeine is not an analgesic. The reason they include it in things like Excedrin and Anacin is that headache is a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.

Not completely true. I wasn't allowed to drink sodas as a child, for religious reasons, and was completely culturally removed from caffeine. I simply had no access to it, thus was not addicted and never experienced withdrawal. However, at some point we discovered that caffeine enabled the medication to metabolize and enter the bloodstream faster, and the faster I got treatment in my system once I began experiencing symptoms, the more likely it was to work. That said, caffeine rebound headaches can and do happen for people who ingest it regularly.

Also, you say her migraines aren't crippling. I have to say that vomiting for several hours (as you say she does when she gets them) is most emphatically crippling. I do think I know what you meant by saying this, but still.
posted by tejolote at 11:31 PM on November 26, 2008

Take it easy on re-introducing fluids. Sips of Pedialyte might stay down better.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:44 AM on November 27, 2008

Nthing what others say here. I suspect it is migraines and that her migraines may be hormonal, but could also be sometimes related to allergies. You've gotten lots of good advice, and you definitely need to keep trying to find a treatment that works for your daughter. This may take a lot of persistence, some experimenting, and perhaps a change in doctors, but you need to keep at it, because this is no life for a 10 year old. Nthing also that if she is waking up with a headache then a trigger can be sleep disruption, i.e., try to keep her to a regular bedtime. One of the triggers for me can be staying up late, and then sleeping too long to make up for it.

In the short term, make sure when one hits that she lies down (but keep her head slightly elevated) in a dark room. For some people, an ice bag on the head can help (count me as one of those, i.e. cover up warmly everything else but need to keep my head cool), for others, the dark room + heat works best. She will know rather quickly which might help her.

In terms of medication, for some, the triptans like Imitrex are a life saver, for others like me, Excedrin migraine does the trick. The nasal spray or suppository versions of treatments are good thoughts. Ibuprofin alone is pretty useless for me, though. Good luck and keep trying to find a treatment.
posted by gudrun at 9:58 AM on November 27, 2008

Eating (or drinking) sugar bumps one's blood sugar up, then down. There's been research that in some migraineurs, the blood sugar crash can trigger symptoms - here's one explanation. I was a highly-sugared kid, and I'm definitely one of these people - now that I eat a sugar-free diet, I am migraine-free. Of course, it took almost 30 years to figure that out!

I have a friend who eliminated sugar from her diet for other reasons, but was happily surprised that her at-least-monthly migraines went away at the same time. She had been using Imitrex inhalers up until that point.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:42 PM on November 27, 2008

I've suffered from similar types of headaches since I was about 14. I've been to different doctors, some who identified the headaches as migraines, and others who felt that the migraine diagnosis was not entirely correct (no auras, light sensitivity, etc). They range in severity, but are mostly pretty debilitating, and usually involve vomiting at some stage (which actually tends to bring me relief). I have lived in different parts of the country and experienced different levels of migraine associated to different climates, but I have never been able to isolate any direct cause. Since your doctor seems wary of prescribing migraine medication to a child, I just wanted to suggest that you could try accupuncture. I have had very good luck with regular accupuncture as a preventive for my headaches. It's one of those things I tried after trying many other drugs and treatments, figuring it certainly couldn't hurt. I realize that accupuncture is too "alternative" for some people, and there may be prohibitions around accupuncture treatments on children, but I do find it effective, and if you could afford a couple months of treatment, it might be worth the experiment.
posted by amusebuche at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2008

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