Children suffering from migraine headaches are more likely to have difficulty performing well in school, according to a new report published in Neurology. The doctors studied 5,671 children between ages 5 and 12 from 87 Brazilian cities and found that episodic migraine was present in 9% of children (9.6% of girls and 8.4% of boys), probable migraine, in 17.6% (17.3% of girls and 17.8% of boys) while chronic migraine in 0.6% (equally in boys and girls). Headaches were more common between ages 9 and 12 than 5 to 9. Chronic migraine was more common in poor children. Poor performance at school was significantly more likely in children with migraine and chronic migraine, compared to probable migraine and tension-type headaches.
These are not very surprising results, although they cannot be generalized to all children with migraines. It is very common for me to see children who do exceptionally well in school despite having many migraine attacks and missing many days of school. It is possible that those hard-working and driven kids get headaches because of stress, but despite their severe headaches are able to perform well. Because they are high achievers and like doing everything well, they often excel at biofeedback, which helps them learn how to control their stress and reduce their headaches. Regular meals, exercise, and sleep are also very important. We try magnesium, COQ10 and other supplements next, and if headaches are very frequent, Botox injections followed by preventive medications.