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13 Aug 2007

Headaches in Children
Hi Doc

My 4yr old daughter has mentioned to me at least on three occassions that she has a headache. She didn't cry accept once. Do I take this serious, does she know what headache means? What would be the cause for such a young age to be having a headache

thank you
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Expert
Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear MJ,

If your daughter says she has a headache, you have to take it seriously, as 4 year olds can definitely suffer with headaches. This is especially true if she has actually cried from the pain. Sometimes children mimic a parent who may complain of headaches, but one cannot make that assumption – it must be checked out.

Any child suffering from a headache must have a proper medical assessment, which should include a neurological examination. The reason for this is to make absolutely certain that there is not some serious or life threatening underlying medical condition causing the headaches. Although this is uncommon, it is essential to exclude this possibility before doing anything else.

Once this has been done, then the next part of the investigation is started. The correct way to deal with the problem is to have a proper diagnosis of the underlying causes of the headache. If these are treated, the headaches no longer occur, and it is no longer necessary to rely on potentially harmful “rescue” medication.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary” assessment. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, and no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, are co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed. This assessment must include examination to determine the presence of tension in the head and neck muscles.

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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