Iranian Journal of Child Neurology,
Vol. 4 No. 2 (2010),
6 October 2010
Headache is one of the most common reason that children are referred to the Pediatric Neurology Services. It is said that ten percent of children aged 5 to 15 years have migraine.
Subsequently, it is essential for clinician to have a through, comprehensive and systematic approach to the evaluation and management of the child or adolescent who complains of headache.
This writing aims to explore the symptoms of headache, its epidemiology, classification, appropriate evaluation, differential diagnosis and management.
Headaches are divided into primary and secondary categories. Migraine and tension type headaches are prototype of primary headaches without underlying pathology. On the other hand, the type of headache which stems from organic diseases such as: brain tumor, increased intracranial pressure, systemic disease, drug toxicity, ear-nose and throat problems are considered secondary.
On the whole, the majority of children with primary headache have two patterns of headache. One is a chronic low-grade and the other is an intermittent disabling headache. The cause of the former is either caffeine or analgesic abuse, and the latter is predominantly migraine.
Traditionally, if a child presents himself with chief complain of headache, care taker physician begins with history taking followed by thorough physical and neurological examinations.
In the majority of the cases, this initial process leads to a diagnosis or indicate the need for further testing.
Once the diagnosis is made, a management program can be put into place.