Migraine Quiz

Early warning signs in children with migraine

If you have a child with migraine headaches, you know how alarming it can be to have a child with aura symptoms. These symptoms can be helpful, though, as they do indicate when to treat the migraine attack. Early treatment can get a headache under control more easily.

But what about the child who has migraine without aura? Do you know what warning signs to look for to tell that an attack is on its way?

Warning signs of impending migraine

Many migraine sufferers experience vague warning symptoms before the headache pain of a migraine begins. In fact, in adults, this type of warning occurs in more cases than auras do. A recent French study (Cuvellier, Mars, & Vallée; Cephalalgia, 2009) of children with migraine found that two-thirds of the children who had migraine with or without aura had at least one early warning sign, and over half had two signs. These early warning signs are sometimes called a prodrome.

The three most common warning signs were irritablilty, fatigue, and face changes. Face changes meant shadows under the eyes or pallor (paleness). The next three most common early warning signs were sensitivity to sound, anxiety or feeling stressed, and yawning. Sensitivity to light, nausea, and food cravings were also reported. Because this was a study asking about symptoms previously occurring, the length of time the warning signs lasted was not measured.

If you have a child with migraines, paying attention to these early symptoms that occur before the head pain does can pay off. Treating early can bring migraine relief and keep your child happy and active.