30 Jul “The Call From School”
Your 11 year old daughter has been having random headaches for about six months. On a Tuesday morning, you’re at work preparing for a client presentation and you receive a call from the school nurse that your daughter has a terrible headache and needs to go home for the day. You delay your client meeting, pack your work for this afternoon and head to the school – you know the drill for a sick child all too well given her recent history.
After picking her up, you visit the urgent care. There, the practitioner rules out serious neurological findings and the nurse mentions migraines. You share that you do not suffer from migraine headaches, but that your sister has frequent headaches. Upon completion of the examination, you are directed to limit your daughter’s sun exposure, consumption of chocolate and caffeine, and Chinese food (you know…the MSG thing).
However, four days later, the school nurse calls again. On the way to pick her up, you call your pediatrician’s office. After listening to the recent developments, your pediatrician believes that these could be migraines but she is a little too young and refers her to ophthalmology for testing and orders a CT scan. Her eye sight tests fine as eye sight rarely has anything to do with headaches, and her CT-scan is normal. So…you go home and hope for the best.
The next couple of weeks are smooth…no headaches – meaning no missed school, work, sleepovers, etc. THEN, your daughter gets a headache so severe she vomits. Now, you’re getting scared. You and your husband take her to the pediatrician. After reviewing the recent events and examining your daughter, your pediatrician recommends treating your daughter for migraine headaches over the next several months by predicting the headaches and treating with Ibuprophen and Imitrex at the earliest sign. This method proves extremely difficult for everyone as your daughter continues to get painful headaches.
As your concern continues to grow, your family and friends are questioning your parenting skills adding stress and guilt to your plate. Your mom says, “she should live with it” and just go into a dark room until she feels better, your friends thinks “she has your number,” and your sister-in-law keeps emailing you articles about brain tumors from the internet. The whole family is exhausted and wants her to be better.
Headaches are common in teens and pre-teens and there is treatment. If headaches or pain are interfering with your child’s life one or more days per month they may be suffering needlessly. There is help. A tailored treatment approach addressing the biological, psychological and social causes of prolonged pain and symptoms in children has been shown to be highly effective. Parents, we understand the pain and we understand your concern for your children and frustration at the process. Please feel free to call our center to make an appointment or with any questions. We want to help.