Headache in children severely impacts quality of life

Migraine in young people may result in a poorer quality of life than that of children with asthma, diabetes, or cancer

Headache and migraine are common in childhood and can have a severe impact on the child’s quality of life and school performance. The extent to which headaches affect the child, and the entire family, is often unrecognized. As a result, headache in childhood is often under treated.

The publication:

September, 2009

Impact of headache on young people in a school population.

Summary of the abstract

BACKGROUND: Headache is the most frequent neurological symptom and the most common manifestation of pain in childhood. Estimates of the prevalence of headache in children and adolescents vary widely (depending on the setting, methodology, and diagnostic criteria applied) and the impact is not well understood.

AIM: To quantify the impact of headache in a school population.

METHOD: A total of 1037 school children between the ages of 12 and 15 years were surveyed, of whom 49% were female. Main outcome measures were headache frequency, disease-specific impact using the Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment Score (PedMIDAS), and generic quality of life impact.

RESULTS: Twenty per cent of the study population had headache one or more times a week. Ten per cent of the population had a poorer quality of life than that of children with asthma, diabetes, or cancer.

CONCLUSION: There is a significant impact of headache on the quality of life of children. This impact is unrecognized.


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