How migraine impacts a child’s life

Young girl resting her head on a wooden bench

When migraine doesn’t go away, children start to realize, that things are repeating from time to time and that will start to affect them. In their emotional way, in their social behaviour, in the way they eat, in the way they sleep.

Dr Tania G Abreu (Anesthetist & founder of Dolorin)

Growing up as a child with migraine disease is hardly understandable for those not going through it. As a child, you can say “It hurts”, yet, it is not only pain that children with a chronic pain condition experience.

Migraine affects a child’s emotional state, relationships, and social behaviour.

How migraine impacts a child’s daily life

A recent poll from the National Migraine Centre shows that 98% of people have migraine impact their social life and relationships. And this is no different for children!

Here are some areas of life that migraine is heavily impacting. It’s time for everybody to understand that migraine in children are not only about pain. They are also a serious health and social issue!

How migraine impacts families

Many factors can influence headaches or migraine in children. One of them is their social environment. It can also happen the other way around, that migraine affects the whole family life. A recent study showed that mothers’ attitudes towards the condition can have a significant effect on the child’s perception of pain intensity.

This once more shows that we have to look at both biological factors but also the child’s social and emotional environment.

How migraine impacts school and friends

Children with migraine miss school more often than healthy children do. Now stop one second and don’t think of all the homework they have to catch up. Think about the social interactions with friends and peers they miss.

She has to leave sleepovers with friends, has to leave out sports classes…instead we are visiting neurologists, physiotherapists, other doctors…- Karen, her daughter (11) has migraine

School kids are not the best at empathy. Some kids have distanced themselves from my son, others are mocking and bullying him.- Steven, father of a son (8) with migraine

The fact that the condition in many cases is ‘invisible’ makes it even harder.

How migraine impacts a child’s sleep

Sleep is one of the basic and essential needs for the health of children. Now imagine that children with migraine have a worse sleep quality than other children. How can we hope for our little ones to get better when their condition affects their sleep?

If you are a parent of a child suffering from migraine, you might know all this already. Yet, we all have to understand what implications migraine can have on a child’s and even its parents’ social and emotional life. It’s alright to feel overwhelmed as a parent as well. By raising awareness about childhood migraine and understanding its impact, we can find the right strategies to cope with them.

Sources
The National Migraine Centre
The National Migraine Centre FB group
Cheraghi et al., 2018 
Russo et al., 2016

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