Childhood migraine

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By Raymond S Kandt MD

Childhood migraine is also known as or subsumes Juvenile migraine. --ed.

Childhood migraine is common, affecting 4% of children. Migraine in children commonly causes bilateral or midfrontal headaches. The peak incidence for migraine in males of all ages is 10 to 14 years, and for females, it is 20 to 24 years. Adverse lifestyles increase the prevalence of childhood headaches. The biggest concerns parents have regarding the etiology of childhood headaches are brain tumors or vascular problems, particularly aneurysms. However, when the exam is normal and the headaches are episodic, these concerns are usually unwarranted. More recognition is being paid to chronic daily headaches. Dr. Raymond Kandt of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center reviews the clinical manifestations and highlights acute and preventive treatment strategies. 

Key Points

  • Headache duration may be as short as 1 hour.
  • Many children and teenagers have migraine headaches and are normal between attacks.
  • Neuroimaging is usually not necessary. 
  • No migraine aura lasts more than 60 minutes. 
  • Lifestyle changes are important treatment modalities. 


In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited