8/9 8/9 Pandemic brought more misery for children who are prone to headaches 8/9 -- Headaches and migraines Crow River Media

Tuesday, August. 9 2022 (HealthDay News) Add frequent headaches for children who are already at risk of these to the list of illnesses that are linked to the pandemic.

Prior to the outbreak the epidemic, 60% of children were suffering from headaches for just less than fifteen days during the month. When the pandemic, this percentage dropped to 50 percent. In addition, the proportion of children suffering from constant headaches went from 22% prior to the outbreak to 36% following the beginning of the pandemic.

“This is a huge rise,” said study author Dr. Marc DiSabella. He is the director of the Headache Program at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

How COVID-19 impacted headache frequency in children who suffer from migraines isn’t understood fully however, the researchers have theories, which focus on increased stress as well as less physical activity, and more time spent on screens.

“COVID-19 caused disruption to normality and the majority of sufferers with migraines tend to be Type A people, and they need control. COVID-19 destroyed that,” DiSabella said.

In the study, the study involved 107 kids and teens who took part in a survey about their headaches and other lifestyle issues prior to the onset of the epidemic. In addition to having more frequent headaches nearly 50% of children said their headaches became more severe after the outbreak and many also reported increased mood and anxiety. This may contribute to increased frequency and intensity.

A whopping 54% of children claimed that they received less exercise and 61% of them spent at least six hours per day in front of their screens during the outbreak. Screen time too much and less exercise may cause headaches DiSabella stated.

However, this doesn’t mean parents or children suffering from headaches are invincible.

“Reset routines,” DiSabella said. “It could have different routines your child used to have prior to getting the pandemic however, establishing normal routines for exercise can help.”

If sports that are team-based aren’t an option, consider a safer alternative that allows your children to be active all day. “If children experience headaches more than four times a month, which affects their life quality and health, they should seek medical treatment,” he said.

The results are published online by the Journal of Child Neurology.

The results match the findings the doctor. Christina Szperka has been experiencing in her practice since the start in the outbreak. Dr. Szperka is director for the Pediatric Headache Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Some patients have definitely experienced worsened headaches following the COVID-19 pandemic” said Szperka who was not a part of the study.

“This could be because of social anxiety, stress, a lack of physical activity or screen time [with postural effects], but people who’s headaches have gotten worse after the COVID epidemic have a higher likelihood of seeking medical attention and are more likely to take part in surveys on the condition,” she said. Poor posture when viewing screens can cause strain to the neck and back which can cause or worsen headaches.

However, some children with headaches might have benefitted from a more flexible school schedule and reduced social pressures in the first days of the epidemic, Szperka added. For instance, students who suffer from migraines in online school can often be able to tune in class with their cameras shut off, rather than miss the class, as they would at in-person schools She said.

“It is vital to try to comprehend both the negative and positive impacts of COVID-19 in order to assist our patients over the long term,” Szperka said.

More details

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more details on headaches among children.

Sources: Marc DiSabella, DO director of the Headache Program, Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.; Christina Szperka, MD directorof the Pediatric Headache Program, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Journal of Child Neurology