Considering the growing obesity epidemic among America’s youth, exercise is typically considered to be a great thing – it increases blood flow, helps manage weight, boosts energy levels – the list goes on and on. However, for children suffering from exertion headaches, exercise can quickly become the enemy.
Exertion headaches are a generalized head pain that occurs during or following physical exertion (running, jumping) or passive exertion (sneezing, coughing, moving one’s bowels, etc.). While most exertion headaches are benign, they do vary in severity, duration (from 15 minutes to 20 hours), and associated symptoms (some children will experience nausea, vomiting, and light or sound sensitivity). Although these headaches may occur in isolation, they are most commonly associated with patients who have inherited susceptibility to migraine and are often triggered by sustained physical exertion that is uncharacteristically strenuous for the particular individual’s conditioning.