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What is the cause of my son's recurrent headaches?

Q: I have a 12 years old son. He keeps complaining for headache all the time. According to a child specialist, there is no physical problem that can be related to this. His school atmosphere is very friendly and warm. At home also, we discuss matters openly and give him all the freedom that he needs. The headache happens quite often. The timing of the headache also differs. At times it happens while getting up and sometimes, in the afternoon and evening. I have also noticed that if his food intake is less, he gets a headache. Last night he ate well, but in the morning he woke up with a headache. Can you tell me why this is happening? Is there something serious?

A:A few points need to be clarified. 1) Do his headaches occur if there is lack of sleep or excessive sleep; missing of meals; exhaustion; exposure to strong smells, noise or certain food stuffs; stress? 2) If he coughs, bends down does his headache increase?; 3) During the headache, does loud noise or bright light aggravate his headache?; 4) Is his headache relieved by sleep; 5) Is his headache accompanied by nausea or vomiting? 6) Does he get flashes of light or zig zag lines in his vision before the onset of headache; 7) Does any family member suffer from headaches? If the answer to a number of the questions is yes, then he is likely to be suffering from Migraine. Medicines for prevention of headaches will be required if the headaches are frequent (>4/mth); causing him to miss school; or associated with frequent vomiting. You would have to meet a neurologist who would prescribe the appropriate preventive therapy. In the meanwhile you could ensure that the child does not miss meals, has plenty of fluids, restrict intake of junk food and food with preservatives; restrict watching of TV to an hour, and keep the distance of TV at least 10-15 ft.

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