Migraines in children - how neurofeedback can help young girl holding her head in her hands

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-girl-hiding-her-face-8090246/

Just like adults, children can get headaches and migraines. In fact, 10% of children between the ages of 5-15 experience migraines, and up to 28% of teens get them regularly. It’s also not uncommon for children as young as 18 months to experience migraines, and many researchers are starting to find a correlation between colic and these severe headaches. If you asked those around you, you might even learn that half of them experienced their first attack before turning 12 years old.

If these statistics alarm you, you’re not alone. Parents often don’t understand why their child is acting out or is in so much pain, and standard MRI testing usually doesn’t reveal anything neurological. That’s why many parents turn to neurofeedback training from Grey Matters of Carmel. With neurofeedback, we’re able to get to the source of your child’s migraines: unhealthy neural pathways in the brain.

Migraine Causes

Migraines in children can be scary, unpredictable, and even debilitating. However, many times migraines run in families. So, if you have them as an adult, it’s likely your children will as well. Puberty also plays a critical role in migraines. Before puberty, migraines affect boys more than girls, but this flip flops once they hit their teen years. This change explains why migraines are so much more common in women than men.

Furthermore, just like adults, children experience migraines because of their diet, exercise habits, stress, and sleep cycles. If your adolescent or teen isn’t getting enough sleep, doesn’t exercise, and is under a lot of pressure, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that they also have migraines. When it comes to diet, typical food triggers include:

  • Aged cheeses
  • Meats
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus foods
  • Food dyes
  • Aspartame

How a Migraine is Diagnosed

Diagnosing migraines in children is based on a thorough physical and neurological exam. Your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor will likely want to run an MRI and blood tests to rule out anything more severe. He or she will also want to know how much school your child misses due to head pain, how many days are between the attacks, and what kind of extracurricular activities your child partakes in. In some cases, migraines can be brought on by sudden changes in school or activity schedule or be the result of a concussion.

How Neurofeedback Can Help

For migraine sufferers, the central nervous system is usually the underlying culprit. This system is responsible for most bodily functions, including awareness, movements, sensations, thoughts, speech, and memory. We can break the CNS down even further into the parasympathetic and sympathetic halves, each responsible for how your body functions. The parasympathetic system is responsible for resting and digesting, while the sympathetic system is responsible for your fight-or-flight response. In migraine sufferers, the sympathetic system is out of control, constantly releasing adrenaline into your system in preparation to navigate a threat while your parasympathetic system struggles to restore balance. This imbalance leads to anxiety, stress, depression, and even migraines.

With neurofeedback training, we can target the CNS by training the brainwaves to help the PSNS restore balance, calm the mind, and reduce stress hormones flooding the brain and body. We do this all without medications, and it’s not uncommon for children with migraines to experience relief within 30-45 minutes of a training session. By helping the brain create healthier neural pathways, we’re able to mitigate those terrible migraines.

Stop Suffering & Start Training

Are you ready to help your child find relief from their migraines? Then bring them to Grey Matters of Carmel for neurofeedback training. Using a qEEG brain map, we can pinpoint the source of the migraines by measuring the brain waves. This information then allows us to create a training program specific to your child, training their brain to develop neural pathways that lead to less stress, anxiety, depression, and migraines. To sign them up for a free consultation, give us a call at (317) 215-7208.