Those who suffer from these debilitating headaches often seek ways to ease symptoms like throbbing pain, nausea, dizziness, and sudden sensitivities to light and sound.
Child Neurology Consultants’ board-certified pediatric neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Lindsay Elton recently shared her thoughts on how mindfulness can help migraines for an article in HealthCentral.
What does mindfulness mean?
Being mindful means having an acute awareness of all the factors and triggers that go into your migraine and the specific sensations that you feel while experiencing it.
This information can help you better to recognize when you might expect a migraine to occur and how to manage the pain.
“Mindfulness helps patients identify, over time, what’s driving their headaches,” Dr. Elton explains. “It allows patients to understand what is making them uncomfortable or causing stress.”
Talking with kids in simple but specific terms or having them keep a headache journal about how they felt or what they were doing right before, during and after a migraine sets in is a good start to practicing mindfulness.
Dr. Elton also suggests using easy online programs/apps such Headspace or Calm or working with a therapist well-versed in mindfulness-based practices and techniques (MBCT) to help children and teenagers navigate their migraines.
Manage Your Stress, Manage Your Migraine
She also says that another good place to start with managing migraines is to work on eliminating stress, as stress is thought to be a trigger for migraines in as much as 70% of those who experience them.
For kids affected by migraines, ways to help reduce their stress might include:
- Building in plenty of breaks during homework and study time
- Finding activities they love to do outside of school, while being careful to not burden or overschedule them
- Ensuring they get enough rest and quality sleep each day and night
- Checking in with a trusted teacher, advisor, or therapist during difficult times
- Establishing a “headache plan” to have in place already before a migraine starts so they know what to do, such as practicing slow breathing exercises or retreating to a calm, quiet place for a few minutes
Fueling up with well-balanced, nourishing meals and staying hydrated are also essential. Being hungry or dehydrated can often be common triggers for a headache or migraine.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological conditions in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old. To make an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists, please contact us here.