Migraine headaches don’t just afflict adults. According to WebMD, by age 15, 15.5 percent of all children have had a migraine headache, and 70 percent of child migraineurs have a family member with a history of migraines.
Typical migraine triggers for children are the same as for adults: stress, fatigue, certain foods and additives, hormones (in teenagers) and loud noises. Sometimes the trigger isn’t clear.
Regardless of the trigger, a child who gets migraines is in agony, and it affects the entire family.
Central nervous system (CNS) may be to blame
Doctors used to believe that abnormal blood vessels in the head caused migraine headaches. However, recent research indicates that the central nervous system may be at the root of the problem for some people.
Neurofeedback’s impact on the CNS
Neurofeedback and biofeedback train the central nervous system – without medications. It’s not uncommon for children (and adults) in our practice complaining of intense migraine pain (a 7 or higher out of 10) to experience significant relief within 30 to 45 minutes, compared to as much as a day for a migraine medication.
Pediatrics: biofeedback an effective intervention
A study in the journal Pediatrics, published in the August 2016 issue, concluded that biofeedback was “an effective intervention,” for migraines. (Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback). It added that further investigation is needed.
While Center for Brain isn’t involved in any clinical trials for pediatric migraines, we are able to observe a dramatic reduction in migraines among our young clients as well as significant reduction of frequency, duration and intensity of their headaches over time with neurofeedback training.
One of our success stories involves a little girl who was eight when her parents brought her to us. She had been missing an alarming number of school days due to headaches. She had had two MRIs looking for an answers that had revealed nothing, and was scheduled for a third. After completing her second neurofeedback training session at Center for Brain, her headaches stopped. We gave her a total of 15 sessions to help make that change permanent. Three years later, she still does not get migraine headaches.
Stopping a migraine in process is one thing neurofeedback can do, but its best use is having your child undergo a series of neurofeedback sessions over time so that the headaches occur less frequently and are less intense. Neurofeedback subtly helps the child alter their brainwave patterns so the brain is less likely to get into a dysfunctional pattern that can trigger a migraine.
Because of the very small chance that the headaches could be caused by something serious, such as a brain tumor or infection, your child should be medically-evaluated before being seen at Center for Brain. Once those causes have been ruled out, we can begin neurofeedback treatment.
The advantages of neurofeedback treatment for migraines are that it is non-invasive, non-drug and the impact can often be permanent or long-lasting. We are able to treat children as young as three years old.
If you’re looking for a different way to help give your child relief from migraines, take advantage of our consultation.