How migraines impact a child’s life

When migraines don’t go away, they 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.

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.

Chronic headaches affect a child’s emotional state, its relationships and its social behavior. 

How migraines impact a child’s daily life

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

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

How migraines impact families

Many factors can influence headaches or migraines in children. One of them is their social environment. It can also happen the other way around, that migraines affect 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 migraines impact school and friends

Children with migraines 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 migraines

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 migraines

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

How migraines impact a child’s sleep

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

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

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

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