High Frequency & Severity of Migraine in Teens

As a teenager, my occasional headaches became chronic within a couple years. Many other people have told me the same story and a study presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology confirms the frequency of this occurrence.

The nationwide study of 18,714 adolescents found that headaches are causing a lot of disability for kids 12 to 19 years and that their headaches are not adequately treated. In a one-year period, 5% of boys and 7.7% of girls reported frequent migraines.

Researchers found that adolescents’ migraines often go from one or two times a month to 10 to 15 times a month within a couple years. The quick transition from occasional to chronic migraine is astonishing. Especially because there is some evidence that headaches become harder and harder to treat as their frequency increases.

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11 Responses to “High Frequency & Severity of Migraine in Teens”

  1. emily Says:

    hi- i just found your site yesterday and spent a long time poking through your archives. i, too suffer from chronic daily migraine. it was wonderful to read about your experiences, and also all the information and news you’ve gathered here! i also recently read All in my Head by paula kamen, and just identified SO MUCH with it. just wanted to ‘introduce’ myself, as i’m sure to be back very frequently. thanks so much,
    emily

    *********
    I’m so glad the blog is helpful for you. And I love All in My Head too. Take care.

    K

  2. Roxanne Fogelman Says:

    Hi there,

    I just found this sight today. I never knew that there was so much info compiled into one website. I am seventeen years and have chronic daily migraine. I have had them for the past five years and they have made it hard for me to live a normal teenagers life. I am going back to the Diamond headache clinic for the third time this year and i am going to try some new treatment that will hopefully help. If anyone has any suggestions about doctors, medications, or tests to try please let me know. I live in a small community and our resources are limited so hearing from other people always gives us help.
    Thanks,
    Roxanne

    ********
    Look for an e-mail from me…

    K

  3. Kelsey Says:

    i’m 17, and i get headaches almost everyday, and if i dont take about 4 asprin or tylenol (ibeprofin does not work) within the first 10 minutes of the headache it turns into a migraine within 15 minutes. and my migraines are always accompanied by nausea, some times vomiting, and every light brighter than a candle causes excrusiating pain. most sounds bother me, except music. i usually take 2 more asprin at this point and if i can, i go somewhere dark and try to sleep it off, but unfortuantly naps and dark rooms arent available in schools. and niether is asprin. i’v tried taking multivitams, but nothing really seems to work. any more homeopathic suggestions?

    *********
    There are some suplements that have varying degrees of reported efficacy as preventives, but I don’t think there are any homeopathic headache abortives (which you would use at the same time you’ve been using Tylenol). The preventives are feverfew, magnesium, riboflavin and butterbur.

    There are some prescription meds that do wonders for some people with migraine. Triptans are the most common of these — you take them when you feel a headache coming on and, for a lot of people, the migraine will stop in its tracks. You would have to see a medical doctor for this though.

    Best of luck.

    K

  4. Meeka Says:

    hi.
    im 16 and within the past year I have started getting daily migraines. My ability to see is drastically decreased and I have throbbing pain that is made worse with movement and bright lights. I get really crabby and tired. I try to sleep it off, but when i wake up, its still there, like a dull ache that gradually gets worse. My mother is making me keep record of when they happen and what i eat then shes taking me to the doctor…id like to kno what could be wrong with me and what i can to do help the pain…thanks
    Meeka

    ********
    Your symptoms sound a lot like migraine to me, but I’m in no way a medical professional. Do you have an appointment with a doctor scheduled? I think your mother has the right idea, but I’d get in to see your doctor as soon as you can. Then he or she can start you on some meds that may ease the pain.

    Best of luck.

    K

  5. tammy Says:

    Hi my name is tammy, i’m 15 years old and i have been getting headaches almost every day, I’m really starting to worry and i’m thinking that something might be wrong with me, It feels like a strong pressure on my head, And i sometimes feel dizzy. I went to the doctors and she said it’s just stress.
    Does this sound like a stress headache?

    Tammy x

    ********
    I don’t know what type of headaches that you have, but do know that your doctor should do more than dismiss your headaches as stress. Did she give you any recommendations for dealing with your headaches?

    Whatever the cause, you need to see a doctor who will listen to your symptoms and help you cope with them — it may be medication, but there may also be other changes you can make, like making sure you get enough sleep, that you wake up and fall asleep at regular times, eating regularly so your blood sugar doesn’t crash, drinking enough water… The list goes on and on. You can learn more at: http://www.webmd.com/content/article/46/1826_50669#6

    This shouldn’t be on your shoulders, though. I definitely recommend seeing a different doctor, one who will take your pain seriously.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    K

  6. Kat. Says:

    heyy, im Kat, im 14 and 5 months, and for the past 9, 10 months straight, ive had daily headaches.

    Before then, it was a migraine type thing 1, 2, times a week maybe, for a month?. so about 11 months all up, ive had headaches.

    at the start when it was an occaisional migraine type headache, i would yeah, get the headache, tunnel vision, vomiting, nausea, dizzyness, and fainting. occaisionally i would also get pins and needles through-out my body, and numbness. sleeping for about 20 hours would generally fix it.

    now, it is a persistent, daily, headache.
    i go to sleep in pain.
    i wake up in pain.
    i live everyday in pain.
    on a scale of 1 – 10, on a good, ‘normal’ day, i will b about a 9, 9 and a half.

    on a bad day, it will strike suddenly, sort of, and be a 10, where i have 2 go home, if im at school, except it feels like a 15.
    i cant sleep to fix it. i pass out for a few hours then up for an hr or so, then pass out again. the codapane forte im currently on does that, and i have been offered injections to knock me out, it hurts that bad.

    at the start of all this, nurofen and pandol would work. no pain relief medication works now. not nurofen, panadol, combinations of the two, prescribed by my gp, tylenol, panadeine, panadeine forte, codapane forte.
    i had a reaction to the tylenol, i felt like i was falling when lying down, and hullucinating. no pain medication works. not even codapane forte, but i take it to shut my mother up. we argue daily coz shes sick of me complaining about headaches, and im sick of having them.

    i have been to my gp 4 times now, i have had a CT scan. that was normal. i have been to a chiropractor, she couldnt do anything for me, i have been to a nuerologist, he suggested a week in hopsital, said it could be a post-viral headache, suggested an MRI. he was rude to my mother so we didnt go back ,and didnt get the MRI. i didnt have a problem with him though.
    i am currently going to a natropath. i am on herbal tonics, but they dont work. i am on a special diet; no sugar, no preservatives, nothing processed, no white pasta, flour etc, no dairy except for riccota cheese, yoghurt and soy milk…

    that isnt working either. has been about 5 weeks since i first went to the natropath.

    with my daily headaches, i get dizzy about 3 -4 times a day, and would faint just about everyday, and nausea. i can generally control it, or tell when im going to get dizzy or faint or throw up so i just sit down and hope it passes.

    the natropath has minimised the dizzyness, vomiting and fainting. i still get dizzy, though not as bad. and im still feeling sick. but its not so bad. the fainting has just about gone.

    i have tried just about everything. i have moved my fone from beside my bed to out of the room, i have stopped painting my nails for a couple of weeks, i drink magnetic water… i drink about 5 litres of water a day. i sleep well, eat 3 main meals a day, with snacks or fruit, yoghurt, or crackers in between if im hungry.

    if i could, i would have everyday off school, and try to sleep. but i cant. it is getting to the stage where it is definitely interfering with my life.

    that is just about my life story.
    i really need, and desperately want some help.

    im in constant pain.
    nothing works.
    11 months of headaches.
    there is family history of migraines.
    but not daily headaches.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kat.

    *********
    I’m sorry you’re suffering so much, Kat. Headaches are awful to deal with in any case, but really suck when you’re so young.

    I’m not a doctor, but your headaches sound like migraine to me. They can transform from episodic to constant seemingly overnight. That’s what happened to me when I was a little younger than you.

    The good news is that very few people have headaches that can’t be treated. But it can be difficult to find a doctor who can treat them. A headache specialist would be ideal, but if you can’t see one, I recommend seeing another general neurologist.

    There are many, many treatments available, but it can take a long time to find the right one for you. Here’s a brief overview of the many available: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/migraine-treatments

    I wish you the best of luck. It may take a while, but you’ll find a health care provider who can help you.

    Let me know if I can answer any other questions.

    Kerrie

  7. Friend Says:

    hi i’m a friend who’s 11 going on 12. I am in middle school and about 1 week ago i started having headache’s you know just like every once in a while but then they starting coming like every day getting worse and worse until they became frequent migraines.my mother said it might pass in a few days but it didnt and they are still going on today. i just want to know what i can do to make them stop so i can focus in school again instead of going to the nurse and calling my dad to bring me advil.

    *********
    I definitely recommend seeing a doctor. There are much better abortives available than Advil.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  8. Mary Says:

    Hi, I have been dealing with migraines since I was 15, 43 now and diagnosed with chronic daily headache syndrome/migraines. I have a 17 year old son who for the past 2 years has been having bad headaches and they are getting worse. My daughter is 19 and she also gets these headaches but not as often but when she gets them they are bad. My son wakes up with the headaches, goes to bed with the headaches and has them in school. I feel for these kids that are dealing with headaches and going to school at the same time. He is not doing well in school either, passing but I know he could do much better. The problem is also is that the school systems, at least here, don’t understand. I have talked to them, the nurse at school and when he is having a really bad day, they tell him he is faking it. He is taking carpentry classes because this is what he wants to do is build and design homes, he is good at carpentry (not just saying this because I am MOM) he re-did our back porch and screened it in. So with being in carpentry, he can’t be tired or have a pounding headache, he has to be on top of everything but they don’t get it. I am going to show him this site so he will see that he is not alone. He doesn’t want to go for tests or see doctors or take meds. But being his mother and dealing with the headache everyday, I don’t want him to go thru life like this when they could find out NOW how to help him. I wish ALL of you the best and I Pray they find something to help with these awful headaches. God Bless!

  9. Fiona Anderson Says:

    My 14 yr old daughter has been suffering almost constant headaches of varying intensity now for 3 years. We’ve seen a neurologist at one top Boston hospital, and tried many meds & had many tests, and now we’ve switched to the other top hospital’s headache clinic & the first thing they’ve tried hasn’t worked. Has anyone got a doctor who really has helped them, or a med?

  10. Lisa Roth Says:

    I’m thriteen right now, but I’ll be 14 Dec. 9th. For the past year and a half I’ve been getting a headache at least five times a week, but more recently I’ve been getting them every day. I had an episode a few months ago where I had such a bad migraine I couldn’t even walk, and when I did try it felt like someone was wacking my head with tremedous force. Along with that horrible head ache I got a temp. of about 104 and I felt nauseas. I have had a lot of difficulty in school concentrating. Also about a week ago I got a severe nose bleed, and I have never gotten a severe nose bleed before. I don’t know if it’s related to my migraine problem though. I’m going to tell my doctor the next time I see her but my parents think I have cronic migraines or whatever it’s called. My migraines come out of nowwhere sometimes and their very painful. Almost every day I feel nauseas when I’m having a migraine. Also I feel very hot, but the thermomater always says I have a normol temp. I hate having migraines almost every day and the pills I take don’t work. I wrote this comment because I feel some other teens are having these problems and they might feel better like I did when they check out this amazing website.

  11. Melissa Says:

    My 17 yr old son has had migraines since he was 8 yrs old. My proff at college tried to tell me it was a learned behavior. I told him he was crazy. You watch an 8yr old child scream to turn the lights off and it is the sun. Then vomit everywhere. He got a concussion real bad when he was 14 and it took him a year to get over. He never had a bad grade in his life until now. For the past 3 days his vision is blurred and he has ringing in his ears. He cannot stand light or sound. He gets really depressed because he feels like he can’t do the things he used to. This is a nightmare to watch your child go through this. He does take imitrex and now has more meds to add. They wanted to start him on amitripaline but my husband said no. He goes for an MRA on Tuesday. I really hope we can figure something out.


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