Headaches in children and teenagers

July 12, 2017

Headache is adolescence is more common than usually recognised.

One Dutch study found, 66%-71% of 12- to 15-year-olds have at least one headache every three months. 33% to 40% have at least one per week! They also found that headache is often accompanied by other physical and/or emotional manifestations.

Another study of 900 Australian youths aged 10-18 found 4.6% of the group experience headaches all the time, with 24.8% experiencing headaches every few days or once per week. One third of the group felt their headaches were a problem and three quarters felt it difficult to concentrate in class, or on homework during a headache.

Studies have looked at risk factors for headaches in adolescence. These include:

- a dysfunctional family situation

- the regular consumption of alcohol

- caffeine ingestion

- smoking

-  low level of physical activity

- physical or emotional abuse

- bullying by peers

- unfair treatment in school

-  insufficient leisure time.

Headaches have many possible causes, and a child or teenager experiencing headaches should be assessed by a professional.