Headaches. They can ruin a perfectly good day, they can make simple tasks difficult, and they know no age limit. When you child complains of a headache, it may be easy to jump to the worst possible scenario. From the moment your child utters “I have a headache,” you may already be halfway out the door, calling the pediatrician as you buckle in your little one, but do you really need to?
Headaches are caused by changes in the chemicals, nerves, or blood vessels in the brain. According to KidsHealth, headaches are commonly triggered in children by dehydration, skipping meals, change in sleep patterns, stress, looking at a screen for too long, and changing hormone levels.
There are different types of headaches as well, such as a tension headache which is often described as a “throbbing headache” and is accompanied by a dull pressure around the front and sides of the head. Another type of headache, which is more painful is a migraine headache. A migraine headache, like a tension headache, has a throbbing feeling, but also has symptoms like nausea or vomiting, dizziness, impaired vision, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Whether your child’s headache is a tension headache or a migraine, rest assured that it is normal. If your child is suffering from a headache, try to have them relax in a cool dark room, and make sure that they stay hydrated.
It is time to call the pediatrician when:
- Your child has frequent headaches
- Headaches that don’t go away easily
- Extremely painful headaches
- Loss of consciousness
It is also important to tell the doctor the frequency of your child’s headaches, the duration, if they are woken from sleep by headaches, and if they have experienced a loss of consciousness during a headache at any time.
Your pediatrician will perform a physical exam and may also perform a neurological exam, which includes looking at the eyes and testing nerves. Depending on the symptoms, your doctor may also order a CAT scan or an MRI, which will need to be completed by a radiologist. These scans use magnetic fields and radio waves to form images without exposure to ionizing radiation, providing a complete picture of your child’s brain. Once the scan is complete, the doctor will be able to diagnose your child and prescribe treatment.
Headaches can be painful, but they don’t have to be scary. Knowing the signs of a serious headache can save your child’s life.
Tower Radiology Centers practice has been Tampa’s most trusted since 1970. As the leader in outpatient radiology services throughout the Tampa Bay area, they are dedicated to the highest quality patient care utilizing state-of-the-art technology and recruiting highly trained radiologists. Their highly trained board-certified subspecialty radiologists provide unparalleled experience in outpatient diagnostic radiology, with specific training in Neuroradiology, Vascular & Interventional Radiology, Neurointerventional Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, High Resolution CT, Ultrasound, High Field and Open MRI, Women’s Imaging, Pediatric Radiology, Cardiothoracic Imaging, and Musculoskeletal Radiology.