Childhood migraines are not rare, but it is not something we typically think of in children. In fact, it has been reported that an 18-month-old child had a migraine. Receiving a diagnosis with any illness can be challenging even more so when a child is so young and lacks the skills to communicate what they are enduring.
It’s a complicated neurological disease, with head pain and other symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to touch, sound, light, and odors. Abdominal pain and mood changes can occur, too. While kids generally have fewer and shorter migraine attacks than adult sufferers, childhood migraine can be just as disabling, and it can seriously affect the child’s quality of life. Consult a doctor if your child suffers from frequent or disabling headaches or migraine symptoms.”
My name is Courtney Jordan. I am the Mom of 4 amazing kids and Ne-Ne to 2 sweet grandbabies. I love life and do my best to enjoy every second and make long-lasting memories. I live with Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Gastroparesis, Migraines, R.A., Osteoarthritis and a Seizure Disorder. I refuse to let my body dictate how I live my life (even on days when I must give in). One of my greatest passions is helping others who live with lifelong diseases. We are more than what we fight!
Courtney Jordan Migraine Warrior Current Age: 44
Migraine Onset Age: 8 or 9
I vividly remember experiencing my first migraine. I woke up because the pain in the left side of my head was absolutely excruciating. Opening my eyes and taking in the light in the room made it even worse. I was nauseous and made my way to the bathroom where I began vomiting. At this particular time, I had 4 siblings and several of us shared a room.
My Mom covered the windows in her bedroom to make the room dark and snuggled me in bed. She would alternate ice packs and heat to help with the pain. This became a normal occurrence and I suffered from these all through my teens and a lot of my adult life. Usually, my migraines would last for several days, which impacted my ability to attend school. Thankfully, my parents were great advocates for me and I was able to make up my school work at home.
As a child, it is very hard to recognize warning symptoms and it is sometimes hard to explain what you are feeling. Even more difficult, is the issue with dealing with the emotional stress caused by dealing with health issues. You feel different and sometimes even feel alone because your friends and siblings can’t understand what you are going through.
These problems are hard to even as an adult, but as a child, it is compounded by not having the “tools” needed to deal with psychological effects. I think it is very important for parents of children with health issues to be aware of and to make arrangements for emotional and psychological support.
My migraines were physically debilitating and affected not only myself but my family as well. I often felt like I was a burden on my family because I disrupted the normal schedule and required more attention when I was feeling poorly.
I did not receive the medical help I truly needed until I was in my 30’s for my migraines. It was truly life changing when I started taking maintenance medication. I still suffer from migraines, however, it is now only once or twice a month and usually only 24-48 hours.
Things that I feel are very important to remember for parents of children that suffer with migraines:
1. Your child is in a great deal of pain and may be withdrawn or act out because they are not sure of what is going on with their body.
2. Your child may not be able to fully explain to you how they are feeling.
3. Your child may be worried about the impact they are having on others and may deal with guilt.
4. After an episode, talk with your child about how they feel, both physically and emotionally. Ask what they find helpful and comforting during a migraine. Try to learn the warning signs and help them learn to recognize them as well.
5. Be loving, patient and supportive.
Thank you, Diamond Headache Clinic for the childhood migraine slideshow. Please take time to check out their web page here. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to Courtney for sharing her story with us.