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09/01/2010 at 12:00 PM ET

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mary on

Unfortunately I have had migraines since middle school; I am now in my 40’s. and I still experience them. Both my mother and father had migraines. And unfortunately I have passed this horrible debilitating, stop your life headaches onto 2 out of my four children.

When our 2nd child was very little under 2 he would wake up in a fetal position and scream and cry. A scary cry that would paralyze me. We took him to the dr. (and the ER during an episode) he had us keep a food diary; along with his activity written down he diagnosed him with stomach migraines. I thought this dr was a kook. I have migraines in my head not stomach! It wasn’t until he was about 6 and could really articulate his symptoms to us; he wanted the room very dark and would end up sleeping in the bathroom on top of the tiles with a wash cloth on his head sometimes we wouldn’t see this child for two days.

This time we took him to a pediatrician neurologist who said the first dr was right. He also was given an EEG which concluded that he indeed has migraines. Certain Foods, MSG and stress will bring on migraines. This child is a perfectionist, so Major tests or a major game, and bingo migraine. He was taking a beta blocker but told the dr that he hated taking it because he felt it was slowing him down in his thinking and playing soccer. (Which by the way is a side effect, we never told him it could cause this) the DR eased him off of them and he now takes zomig nasal spray when needed. (He was put on a special FDA trial in order to take this drug.) Although he should still go to bed and rest (no matter how much pain your child is in try stopping them from playing and rest, YEAH right!) when he feels one coming on but I have NEVER been able to get that across. DR said that none of his patients listen to that one!

So now child 2. Also a boy he is now 9. Since we know that kids get stomach migraines we were able to diagnose and treat him when he was around 4 years old. His are not as severe as his older brother. He takes Midrin and will go lay down on an onset of a migraine. But he is a perfectionist too. So he also can bring them on due to stress) It breaks my heart every time they come down with a migraine. Of all the things they could have inherited it had to be that!

We also have two girls 17 and 5 and the 17yr old has had a migraine maybe 4 times not bad. And those came on right before her period. And the 5 yr old none so far! Cross my fingers.

I wouldn’t even wish a migraine on my worst enemy if I had one. AND NEVER on a child!

I have always made sure that my kids never skip meals and drink plenty of water. We never have soda in the house so they never get caffeine. And I have also had to make sure that we don’t have MSG in our food. It’s very hard though and when I do serve something that contains it they will often enough come down with a migraine I feel so guilty. I have learned we can only do so much. My younger kids are in bed by 1930hrs. The older ones a bit harder now but 2200hrs is when they must be in their rooms. The boys are aware of what causes their headaches. So they do try to do their best in avoiding what causes them. They don’t want to miss 2 days of playing with friends or doing their sports.

Listen to your children and get DR’s advice if your child is experiencing headaches. They are so painful! And watching your child experience one is just as painful. They are manageable with meds or even a few changes in food, and sleep habits can make a huge difference.

Erika on

I’ve had migraines since I was about 6. They started to become less frequent when I was about 15 or so (knocking on wood) and I don’t them often at all. I can’t remember the last time I had one. They were so bad that I would throw up when it was starting, then in the middle of them, I would have to lay on my bed with cold compresses on my head and just wait. Pain killers rarely helped and just made me throw up.

When I was about 12 or 13 they got really bad. I would literally be in so much pain that sitting up would aggravate it, and I would throw up a few times, during which my parents had to pick me up into a sitting position and hold me there because I didn’t have the energy to move myself. During the peaks of the pain, turning on light would make my eyes sting so bad and I would cry with the faintest sight of it. I would also sometimes shake from the intensity of the pain and when it got really bad, I would actually start pulling my hair out. One time it got so bad, that my parents started getting ready to take me to the emergency room because they thought surely a headache couldn’t be that bad, but then it just subsided. I had them a few times a month, and my parents had to have me checked to make sure I didn’t have any brain tumors. They also suspected seizures because of my behavior during these episodes, but it was just the migraines. Luckily they rarely happened during school, it was mostly at night.

I don’t have kids yet but it always makes me upset when I hear about school nurses passing migraines off as regular headaches and sending them back to class. They were the worst pain I have ever dealt with.

Rachel on

Thank you for sharing the link about migraines in childhood! As an adult who suffers from migraines now and suffered from migraines as a child, it’s good to know that this debilitating condition gets more recognition with passing years.

I used to say that I started getting migraines about age 12… because that’s when I truly honestly remember my very first migraine complete with aura and debilitating pain and all the works. But the more I looked back and the more I thought on it as I got older, the more I can remember all of the days I was laid up in bed, not really “sick”, but really sick. With headaches or stomachaches or just feeling all around dizzy, nasty, awful, in my childhood and not knowing what it was. Now I know. It was migraines. Always. Just without the aura that I’ve become far to familiar with in my later life.

I now take Topomax daily, which helps to ease the bulk of the intensity, but I still get the migraines.

The little girl I’ve nannied for gets migraines (she’s 9 now) and has since she was about 4.

I think it’s insanely important for parents to listen to their children and not always just assume that they’re faking things to get out of school or whatever else. Most kids don’t cry in agony or make themselves vomit from pain on purpose. And parents are doing a great diservice by ignoring the real symptoms. The sooner migraines are discovered the better the quality of life can be for the sufferer!

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