Adolescent Headaches Specialist

William  D. Stratford, MD -  - Headache Specialist

Your Migraine Care

William D. Stratford, MD

Headache Specialist & Board-Certified Psychiatrist located in Missoula, MT

Headaches can be incapacitating, and headaches in adolescents should especially be taken seriously. If your child is suffering from adolescent headaches, consult the expert team at Your Migraine Care in Missoula, Montana. The kids may miss school, or may not be able to participate in family and other life events, but the team can help assess the best treatment options for relief. Call their office to schedule an appointment today.

Adolescent Headaches

What are adolescent headaches?

Adolescents get the same kind of headaches as adults. Primary headaches that are not the result of another underlying condition include:

  • Migraine
  • Tension headaches
  • Chronic daily headaches
  • Cluster headaches

The most common types of headaches in adolescents are episodic migraine and tension headaches.

There are also secondary headaches, which are related to an underlying condition. When the underlying condition is treated, the headaches usually gets better and may disappear. Some conditions which result in headaches include, but are not limited to:

  •  Infections
  •  Fever
  •  Head tumors
  •  Meningitis
  •  Injuries to the head and neck
  •  Sinusitis
  •  Dental abscesses

The team at Your Migraine Care will consider both primary and secondary causes and suggest the appropriate treatment.

At what age do adolescent headaches appear?

Headaches can appear in children and adolescents at almost any age, and the team often treats headaches in children ages 10 and older. It is also common for headaches to begin at the onset of puberty.

Are there gender differences associated with headaches in adolescents?

Headaches are more common among boys before puberty. During adolescence, headaches, especially migraines, affect young women more than young men. This often extends into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of adolescent headaches?

Adolescents and adults show similar headache symptoms such as pain, disturbed vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and numbness in limbs. Sensitivity to light and sound tend to be more prevalent in young adults. Adolescent headaches are typically shorter in duration than those in adults.

What are the risk factors for adolescent headaches?

In addition to family history, headache triggers include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Changes in sleep cycle
  • Bright lights, loud noises
  • Foods and food additives
  • Alcohol and caffeine

After a full evaluation, the team at Your Migraine Care will discuss with you how to address these risk factors and ways to treat adolescent headaches.

How are headaches diagnosed in adolescents?

The team at Your Migraine Care will review your child’s family medical history and perform physical and neurological exams to rule out any underlying issues. They may also request recommend additional tests and imaging for an accurate diagnosis of the type and source of the headaches.

How are adolescent headaches treated?

Treatment for adolescent headaches will vary depending on the cause. Some common treatments include:

  • Pain relief medications – over-the-counter (Motrin®, Advil®, Tylenol®) or prescription medications (NSAIDs, Topamax, triptans);
  • Preventive medications – amitriptyline, cyproheptadine, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP);
  • Biofeedback, dietary changes, stress reduction

The team will discuss side effects and risks with you to make sure your child receives the treatment that’s best for them. 

Call the team at Your Migraine Care today to make an appointment to evaluate your child’s adolescent headaches, or schedule an appointment online.