Child's Nervous System

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 129–134

Headache in childhood

  • Livia N. Rossi
Invited Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00272112

Cite this article as:
Rossi, L.N. Child's Nerv Syst (1989) 5: 129. doi:10.1007/BF00272112


Migraine in children is diagnosed in presence of paroxystic episodes of headache which recur with free intervals, provided intracranial diseases are excluded. Pathogenesis of this disorder is unclear; migraine with and migraine without aura may be different entities. Many factors can precipitate a migraine attack. In school age, psychologic stress is the commonest factor. Main characteristics of attacks in children are headache, which may be hemicranial; nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, paraesthesiae. Scotomata are not very common in the pediatric age. In some cases, migraine attacks are complicated by sensory or motor symptoms (paraesthesiae, paresis), usually at one hemisoma. In the basilar artery migraine syndrome, features of brain-stem dysfunction predominate. In a few patients a migraine attack presents itself as an acute confusional state. In migraine, EEG abnormalities are frequent (predominance of diffuse or focal slowing). In some cases a CSF pleocytosis is found after an attack of complex migraine. Prognosis is good. Preventive treatment is necessary if the attacks are severe and if they cannot be relieved by rest or sleep. Symptomatic headaches may be produced by a variety of causes. Rarely, it is secondary to increased intracranial pressure. In the great majority of cases recurrent headache is due to migraine. Usually, clinical data are sufficient for diagnosis, though in some cases the diagnosis is difficult and it is necessary to perform laboratory examinations in order to exclude symptomatic headache.

Key words

Migraine in childhood Headache in childhood 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Livia N. Rossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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