HAHAHA, this situation in the internet meme above honestly gives me a headache/migraine. But then again, you have to take this information within context: I grew up learning to drive on the east coast, so anything related to driving at a normal speed or less gives me a headache (If you are fortunately unexposed to this type of experience – driving on the east coast could easily be compared to Darwinism at its finest: survival of the fittest).
On a more serious note, headaches (in any population) are a fairly common and debilitating experience for those involved. They occur in about 3-10% of children and adolescents, without about 10-15% of school children experiencing abdominal pain of unknown origin. Because our gut is considered “our second brain”, due to the amount of neurological tissue embedded within the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal pain can be thought of a headache of the “tummy”, if you will. I think the incidental numbers are substantial enough for researchers to take a closer look at the underlying cause of headache, migraine, abdominal pain, musculoskeletal pain, and possible treatment options.
Some possible/probably causes of headache include> Muscle tension
> Sinus or nasal congestion
> Eye strain
> Decreased blood flow to the brain/head
> Family history of headaches or migraines
> Pathology of the brain (cancer, tumor)
> Unknown etiology
I recently began a new internship at Seattle Children’s Hospital , working with a doc that specializes in biofeedback as a treatment for adolescents experiencing headache. She has a very busy practice, and a waiting list 6 months long for children to start her treatment regimen, of 6 biofeedback sessions. In these sessions, the children are taught to relax their facial muscles, their upper trapezius and other shoulder muscles, and integrate their heart rate with their breathing, through feedback sensors attached to a computer monitor.
Studies have shown that biofeedback therapies can not only treat pediatric migraines, but also educate the patient on how to prevent these in the future (Doctor as Teacher). One particular form of biofeedback, called thermal biofeedback, involves the ability of the patient to change their cold and sweaty hands (indicative of a stressful state), to those that are warm and dry, all by intention, focus, and breathing practices. Results of this study indicated about 2/3 of the children enrolled, who were experiencing headaches, reduced headache incidences and severity by 50%, which is statistically significant, particularly because the treatment protocol involved regulation of breathing. No drugs, no herbs, no invasive interventions. Just learning how to regulate heart rate and breathing.
Pretty interesting stuff
Here is a good YouTube video to learn more about Pediatric Migraines/Headaches and Biofeedback
This information is not intended as medical advice, only for informational purposes. If you, or someone that you know experience headaches, talk with your primary care physician for appropriate diagnosis treatment of the condition.
> Hermann, Christiane, and Edward B. Blanchard. “Biofeedback in the Treatment of Headache and Other Childhood Pain”
> Andrasik, Frank. “Biofeedback in headache: An overview of approaches and evidence.”