By late childhood most boys and girls will have experienced a headache, which in a significant subpopulation may be recurrent and severe. With increasing prevalence throughout childhood, headache becomes one of the most frequent complaints in the primary care setting during adolescence. Although some may consider headache in children and adolescents to be a trivial problem that usually does not warrant a visit to the doctor, the functional disability related with recurrent headache often includes school absenteeism and missed activities. Even in those children who "play on through" their headache episodes, the morbidity associated with head pain and its frequently associated symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and disturbed cognition can be substantial. Until recently, diagnostic classification of recurrent pediatric headache and its appropriate treatment have been problematic. Although still lacking the depth of adult studies, the evidence-based pediatric literature has expanded significantly in recent years. It is now possible for the primary provider to apply standardized diagnostic criteria, minimize laboratory and radiological procedures, and select appropriate treatment modalities in the majority of children and adolescents with headache disorders. And the good news is that most of these patients will have a satisfactory response to appropriate behavioral and/or pharmacological treatment.
Smith MS. Childhood Headache. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(7):704–705. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.7.704-a
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: