It's not your average headache - especially if it's migraine

October 10, 2004

Headaches are a significant pediatric problem - and pediatricians who don't recognize and treat them aren't doing their job, according to a Stanford University researcher who spoke at the AAP 2004 National Conference and Exhibition Saturday.

Headaches are a significant pediatric problem - and pediatricians who don't recognize and treat them aren't doing their job, according to a Stanford University researcher who spoke at the AAP 2004 National Conference and Exhibition Saturday.

"There are lots of kids with headaches out there," cautioned Paul Graham Fisher, M.D., FAAP, of the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, yesterday. "If you think you're not seeing them in your practice, you need to take another look!"

By the age of 7 years, he noted, 30% to 40% of children have experienced headache at least once. Between 2% and 3% have experienced at least one migraine. By age 15, 75% of children know headaches from personal experience. Ten percent have had at least one migraine episode.

Clinicians should consider headaches early, Dr. Fisher said: That means treat early and always consider triptans as first-line treatment when migraine is present.

"Start with the fundamentals," he advised. "Migraine is a pediatric disorder. Most adult migraines begin in childhood. If you manage your patients' headaches, you will be doing them and their parents a real favor."