Kids and headaches

Headaches are pervasive among kids at Eugene Pediatrics, and I believe they’re indicative of poor posture. Technology devices encourage slouching, a big risk factor for headaches. The skull is heavy, and when a child’s head droops forward, it puts tremendous pressure on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and back, which can result in severe, chronic headaches.

To prevent headaches related to poor posture and muscle strain, encourage your children to

  • Put computer screens at eye level.
  • Take breaks from looking down at devices. Look up every few minutes to relieve muscle strain.
  • Massage the muscles of the shoulders and neck regularly to keep loose.
  • Stretch arms and neck gently in every direction before and after a long study session.

Some headaches need immediate medical attention, but these are rare. Headaches of urgent concern include those with

  • Double vision or any changes in vision.
  • Slurred speech or confusion.
  • Numbness or weakness of any body part.
  • Sudden onset of a severe and debilitating headache (“thunderclap headache”).
  • Worsening of headache when sleeping.
  • Nighttime vomiting with headache.

Although ibuprofen can help many headaches, we encourage you to only infrequently give your child ibuprofen for headaches. Overuse of anti-inflammatory medication can actually worsen headaches over time.

If your child is experiencing frequent headaches, come see your pediatrician at Eugene Pediatric Associates.