Migraine and Kids
October 16, 2006 9:10 AM   Subscribe

What options are available for children of 5 years with Migraine? Last night my son had his first. I started with them at 5 too, but back then there were to triptans or anything else. I've put the question in to the family doctor and haven't heard back yet, but I'm sure the answer I get will be limited to the Dr's experience and training. So, MeFi, what do you do for your kids when they suffer an attack?
posted by kc0dxh to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAD but I do get migraines and can tell you about some non-drug therapies that really help.

The first for me is ice. I apply it to the side of my forehead where the pain is but also (very importantly) to the back of my neck on the same side. I like old-fashioned ice bags for this, but anything cold will do in a pinch (refrigerated soda cans are very effective).

Sounds like you are up-to-date on the migraine tools, so you know all about the best combo of lying down in a dark, quiet, cool room. Anything else that will encourage him to sleep is also a great idea.

As a second step on the ice method - if your child is not nauseated, you could try giving him frozen treats. I fine sorbet the most palatable for this. There are times when a little "ice cream brain" is a good thing.

I am a huge fan of the triptan drugs (imitrex changed my life !) but I am avoiding that discussion here since you are waiting to hear from the doctor.

Most OTC migraine medications are regular painkillers with the addition of caffeine (thats the one they refer to as "approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraines") . Migraineurs get mixed reactions to caffeine - its worth trying in moderation (a few sips of a caffeinated drink) - keeping in mind that some sufferers feel it makes things worse.

One last thought about treatment. Your son's symptoms may be quite different from your own. If he experiences nausea and you don't, please keep in mind that prescription migraine drugs almost all come in a non-oral form (either self-injection or a rectal suppository).

Good luck with this - and please don't hesitate to call your doctor back if you don't hear from him/her soon. Migraines are easiest to manage the sooner they are treated.

I hope you'll be able to keep some triptan medications on hand for future migraines - they are no laughing matter. Fortunately - many child migraineurs grow out of it !
posted by AuntLisa at 9:55 AM on October 16, 2006

I don't have any direct experience with migraines, but perhaps this question regarding Migraines in Children will provide you with some useful information (though it focuses more on prevention rather than on treatment after a migraine starts).
posted by La Gata at 10:30 AM on October 16, 2006

No idea how helpful this will be to you, but if it's likely to be a regular occurence it might be worth giving a homeopathic remedy a try. Worked for quite a few of my friends kids.
posted by chrissyboy at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for you kind words, AuntLisa. His attack is over now.

Yes, this is familar territory, but I'm over 30 and haven't outgrown mine yet. My symptoms accompanying the head pain have changed some, maybe that's the beginning.

I'm still looking for info and stories about what treatments are available for children and how parents are treating junior migrain sufferers.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:59 AM on October 16, 2006

I was 14 when they finally diagnosed mine, and I was prescribed a combination of an antidepressant for prevention (amitryptaline?) and a drug for treatment (caffergot). My drug of choice was Midrin, because it worked really well -- it put me to sleep until the attack was over.

I would explore the Midrin approach -- you take two capsules at the onset of the headache, then take another every 30 minutes for a maximum of 5. I liked that I had room to increase my dosage for a really painful one, but lessen it if it was just a matter of me needing to make it through the day.

I am not a doctor (so please take this with a grain of salt), but I would encourage you to avoid the prophylactic approach (too much brain chemistry being altered for such a young child) and instead do a treatment approach. (Midrin, for instance, is non-narcotic.)

I feel for your son (and you). Here's hoping it's a rare occurrance!
posted by parilous at 12:15 PM on October 16, 2006

When you say "family doctor" do you mean your neurologist? Because nothing beats the experience of a specialist who sees dozens of these children a year. A pediatrician / general practitioner should refer treatment to him/her.
posted by dendrite at 2:03 PM on October 16, 2006

There is a line of research that shows Magnesium can help migraines, and that some migraines are literally caused by the deficiency. Just a plain old Magnesium supplement from the vitamin shelf a couple times a day has helped some people tremendously. If you decide to try it, don't use Magnesium Oxide as it's poorly absorbed (but is the cheapest of the supplements). Magnesium Citrate is the preferred form. It's easy to find at health food stores and many drug stores. Here's the Google results for Magnesium and Migraines.

There's also a book called "The Miracle of Magnesium" that also talks about its application to migraines and other problems, but it's not migraine-specific, and the author recommends the oxide form. (The research showing its poor absorption came after the book.)
posted by Katravax at 5:33 PM on October 16, 2006

Response by poster: No, we don't have a neurologist for a family doctor, but our doc is a father of children aged the same as mine. So, we trust him, but I agree that a pediatric neurologist would be the best choice. Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere.
posted by kc0dxh at 6:41 AM on October 17, 2006

Very late to the party, but you might also try having him put his hands in iced water. Migraine pain is caused after the blood vessels dilate following a period of constriction. Hands in ice water can help to divert some of the blood to the extremities to warm them up.

Other non-medical treatments are allowing him to just go ahead and throw up if he's nauseated, and crying.

Side note: my adult migraines were preceeded by several bouts of "abdominal migraine" as a child. Very odd sensation, much like having a headache in the stomach.

And finally, my personal experience has been that the best doctor for headaches is one who has headaches him or her self, or has a family member with them. Too many medical professionals too easily discount the pain of headache, or even the existance of them.

Good luck! Treatments are only getting better for us migraineurs.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:32 PM on October 17, 2006

« Older PLZ buy my compamathingy!   |   SF laundromats w/parking? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.