Headaches in Children Are Underdiagnosed

While headache is the most common manifestation of pain in children, general practitioners have a hard time diagnosing it, according to a study reported in the journal Cephalalgia. “The needs of adult headache sufferers are often unmet, and this situation may be worse in the pediatric population, where sufferers are less likely to articulate their problem or seek help,” study authors wrote.

The researchers, who were from the United Kingdom, identified 48,575 children, aged 50 to 17, with headache using the UK General Practitioner Research Database. Just over 19% had been diagnosed with primary headache (migraine, tension-type headache or cluster headache) while almost 80% had not been given a diagnosis.

The researchers concluded that general practitioners are “likely to be under diagnosing migraine.” They also found that “the risk of a brain tumor presenting with headache is very low, particularly if a primary diagnosis of headache is made.”

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