Posted at 17:55h
By Alexander Mauskop, M.D., FAAN
Director, New York Headache Center, New York, NY
in Kid's Korner
Parents of kids with headache frequently ask about complementary and alternative approaches, hoping to avoid prescription medications and their associated side effects. As it turns out, scientific studies have shown that many of these alternative treatments can be beneficial in reducing headaches, with very few side effects. Taking these factors into account, the treatments described below are worth trying by most, if not all, headache sufferers.
However, before considering any kind of medication, whether conventional or alternative, the first step is to make sure that the child has healthy habits. Parents and children, especially adolescents, should be counseled about the importance of regular and nutritious meals without any caffeine, chocolate or other known dietary migraine triggers. Frequent exercise and regular sleeping patterns are also important factors in decreasing headaches.
Stress is a major contributor to headaches, even in young children. One of the best treatments for migraine and tension-type headaches is biofeedback. Many studies have shown that biofeedback works well, with long-lasting benefits. However, similar and less expensive techniques, such as self-taught progressive relaxation and meditation, work equally well. The advantage of biofeedback is that a biofeedback therapist can make the learning process easier and can act as a coach and motivator.