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12 year old with headaches
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12 year old with headaches

My son is 12 years old. He is 4 ft 11 inches, weighs 85 lbs. He is physically active in sports. He has been having devastating headaches for the last two years. He has been seeing a neurologist since 12/2006. However he continues to have these headaches atleast 2 times a week. When he has a headache he becomes very pale, he sits in the shower for 30 minutes then goes to bed. He usually sleeps until the next morning. This is very disruptive to his life. He has been taking medications for migraines. He is currently taking Pamelor 25mg at night and Verapimil 120mg in the morning. I am very worried that these headaches are never going to go away. He does not consume caffiene. Do you have any other suggestions on how I can help my son?
Tags: Headaches, severe headache, 12 year old boy
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7 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Thanks for writing in.
Magnesium supplements have been known to benefit patients with migraine. You can discuss this with your child’s pediatrician. Also maintain a headache diary as this will help you identify a trigger for his migraines. Make sure he does not eat any snack with artificial sweeteners or MSG as they are known triggers for migraine.
Verapamil can also cause headaches and dizziness. I would suggest you to discuss this also with your child’s doctor as he may need dose adjustment or put on another medication. Take care!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you. We have been keeping a headache diary for several months. His headaches do not seem to have any patterns. They vary from morning to evening. There does not seem to be any triggers. We have had his eyes examined his vision is 20/20. We have adjusted his diet to where he has not had any caffiene, artificial sweetners, red dye, chips, or foods containing nitrates. At his most recent visit to his neurologist his blood pressure was 140/88. That was when the Verapamil was started. He has not had any testing such as a CT scan or blood work done since 2006, should I talk with his doctor about further testing? I will discuss magnesium supplements with his doctor at his next appointment.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Yes chronic headaches should be evaluated by CT scan of brain and blood tests. Please go ahead and suggest this to his doctor.
Since he is suffering from high BP, it is important that his BP be monitored regularly just to make sure that t is under control. Salt restriction will also help.
Verapamil can cause headaches in some people, it is important to make sure this not the case with your son. Please bring this up at his next appointment.
Do keep us posted!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I have suffered from migraines since I was a child. I have learned several things over the years of seeing neurologists. If at all possible go and see a headache specialist.The website Magnum is an excellent website containing alot of information about migraines. You can even see if there is a doctor in your area who specializes in the treatment of migraines. I drive 3 hours to see one and it has been the best thing for me. Please keep on going back to the doctor as your son 's headaches can be controlled. There are also books out there with migraine diets that can help. I did not see any benefit for about a month after starting the diet contained in the book "Heal Your Headache" by David Buchholz, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I basically could not eat anything as MSG in pretty much in everything. Google MSG alternative names as it has many different names on labels. Sleep is also very important, I have learned. Wake up at the same time each morning as well as go to sleep every night at the same time. It can be inconvenient to do so, but a disruptive sleep schedule can trigger a migraine. I take Verapamil for migraines also and alot of the medicine for migraines have caused me to have a headache. I take Keppra which is an anti-seizure medication for children I believe.  Getting overheated can trigger a migraine, but excercise is excellent for preventing migraines.
Do not let him skip meals as this is also a big trigger for alot of people. I know how difficult it is to have to give up alot of things (chocolate, nuts, cheese, peanut butter chips with flavoring) but you will be amazed at how foods can trigger a migraine. Migraines are a disease and have to be treated as such. So please see your doctor again as he can get control of this. Take care.
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903577_tn?1242478415
Oh do I have a story for you! One mom to another! I might be able to give you some knowledge, maybe a lead or two. Maybe my situation can help or maybe it won't! When I went through struggles with my family's health, I was desperate! DR.s had nothing to offer me or my son's. They often dismissed the boys' pain and illness' saying that it was psycological and would ask me "What was going on in our life that could generate stress"? When they couldn't find the answer after a 20 minute appt. they immediately blamed me. I felt terrible. I felt as though I was the cause of my children's pain and suffering. That DR.s assumed it was a home issue because all 5 son's, my husband and myself were suffering symptom's. They felt it was impossible that we could all be sick! This took my focus off of our health and helping my family to recover. Finally, there was something inside of me that was pushing me to dig deeper and not give up. I picked myself up and I went for it. I began looking at the Dr's as though they were stupid rather than giving them room to suggest that I was the idiot! Guess what? I was right! There was something in my home and my environment that was making us all sick! I had to spend thousand's of dollar's to get private testing but my children's health and life matter more than the money. We have gone from $100,000. a year income to $30,000. year yet we have never been happier and healthier.
Start with searching the internet for the thing's that can cause such symptom's in your home or in his school. Rule everything out and I mean thoroghly. I.E. Mold in your home can cause such symptom's. MAybe you say to yourself..."My home is brand new, it can't have mold? Not true. Or, "I have never seen mold in my home, so it's not here"? Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Not that it's mold, but this is a good example. Rule it out! And not by getting a free mold inspection! Those people are idiot's and in my opinion...Robber's! You can get home "Air quality" test kit's and Texas Tech has a great facility where they test this stuff for $40.00!! Worth it. The list goes on as far as what to check for in your home or right outside!
If you would like to chat more, e-mail me..***@****
Regards,
Jodi
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey matthewsmom I think you should give Chiropractic a shot at treating your sons migraines.  Avoiding foods that trigger migraines and getting the house checked for mold are also good ideas and could be used in conjunction with chiropractic, which is a safe, effective, alternative treatment to medications.  There are numerous evidenced based chiropractic literatures published that have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments and the treatment of migraines.  Many people do not know what amazing things chiropractic can do, you may want to give it a chance if you already have not, it could be the solution.
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Avatar_f_tn
Family Hx: has it been explored? Any relatives with migraines? Has he seen an Opthalmologist? You will want to rule out any optic neuropathies. Eye strain / fatigue can be a trigger as well as need for Rx lens correction. Has he had an E.E.G. (Electro Encephalogram) <? I would be concerned enough to try find possible underlying causes if there is persistent H.B.P. He's failrly young for that symptom. Does he get enough fluids, of substance- (i.e.) If he is very competitive athletically he should be making sure his electrolytes are stable and that he is well hydrated at all times:(like Poweraid; Gatorade). Along with Magnesium;- Calcium, Potassium, and Sodium need to be in balance as well. Too much magnesium just by itself is not good, but some- in a few cases may be of benefit. Make sure you know what he is ingesting. Does he have a pretty balanced diet and make  good food or drink choices? Other than disease process directly, such as vascular or neural in nature, chemicals and food additives can be sensitizing factors to trigger a migraine. MSG is definately one of mine. Watch the Doritos (junk food) and other salty consumption. Some triggers can be olfactory based. (i.e.) a HUGE one for me is certain fragrances. Natural strawberry or vanilla are fine, but not artificial -as in food flavoring too. Also some others...a major one for me is a strong scented body fragrance with an overpowering spicy smell  (i.e.) 'Tigress' perfume while cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger- all natural spices, etc. are fine. Sometimes auditory stimuli can be a trigger...very loud music (or even using headphones or headset that create pressure points on the skull.) Stressful situations can trigger, although don't confuse a stress headache  with a migraine.They are totally different. Where and how the pain presents; location, duration, frequency can all be tells. Nitrates bother some people. Food allergies might also be a possibility. Avoid over-processed foods when possible...'if it doesn't come right out of the ground,off a tree, from an animal, let it be'. If it comes in a box, can, plastic or other package read ingredients carefully and avoid when possible to opt for fresh homemade if you've got the time. Fresh is always better and tastes best, too and usually nutritionally more sound. Avoid artificial ANYTHING...dyes, colors, fragrance, preservatives. Most importantly of all, unless it has been established there is no underlying medical emergency- and or all possible testing has been ruled out then be prepared to act. If anything gets worse or changes to cause alarm then better to be seen than sorry. Keep in mind- not all after hours facilities are equipped to handle every situation. Better to go to walk-in clinic at a Trauma Center that could handle a condition severe enough to warrant surgery than an after hour type setting which can't accomodate it. Journaling is an excellent idea. Another thing you could be tracking: Head trauma. Does he take any hits to the head? How about body hits? They don't need to be violent, jarring skull crushing hits to cause damage. A football player, for example could take as many as 1,000 hits in the course of each season that shake the brain like jello. They may not cause concussion, though over time it certainly can add up. It is relative to being in 20-30 m.p.h. car accidents. If your son sustains a questionable hit  that could be a suspect for concussion for any reason - game play or not, he should be examined and monitored closely; following recommendation of the health care provider to the letter. If he's involved in any sport and you are concerned he may be injured, better to pull him from play until you are okay with it then have him suffer for it later. Matthew is lucky to have a kind, loving mom who wants to help her son :) Good luck. There are answers out there, just no two people are the same and it could be a combination of things or any number of things causing this. Many questions to ask. Another I can think of is- has he had Mono or other viral condition recently you can recall? Any lumps? Check for lymph node enlargement- cervical (think  'neck' area), axillary(arm pit), groin- crease where the torso meets the top of the thighs (if he'll let you...if not, he's old enough to report on that if he knows what to look for). Just some ideas. Wish you the best.
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