Current Environment:


Recall Alert

There is a voluntary recall of Potassium Chloride Extended-Release Capsules. Learn more

Types We Treat | Overview

Is this your child’s first time experiencing headaches?

The Headache Program in the Department of Neurology treats children and adolescents with migraines and other types of headaches. If your child experiences chronic headaches, they may be referred to the Chronic Headache Program in Pain Medicine.

There are more than 200 types of headaches, but tension-type headaches and migraine headaches are the most common types of headaches that affect children and adolescents. In the Chronic Headache Program in Pain Medicine, we see patients experiencing these and many other types of headaches.

  • Chronic headaches: A chronic headache can be any type of headache that has been present for more than three months and affects the things that your child wants or needs to do.
  • Primary headaches: With a primary headache, the headache itself is the problem — it is not a sign or symptom of another disease or condition. While the pain from primary headaches can be intense and disrupt your child’s functioning, primary headaches themselves are not dangerous. Our neurologist will gather information from you and your child to determine what exactly type of headache your child is experiencing. Some examples of primary headaches include: 
    • Chronic tension-type headache: This common type of headache often feels like a tight band around the head, putting pressure on the forehead or the temples, and causing the neck and shoulders to feel tense. It can be caused by many factors, including stress, neck strain, and eye strain. We consider it chronic when your child has tension-type headaches at least 15 days out of the month for the last three months.
    • Chronic migraine headache: Migraine headaches are more than just a throbbing headache. They often have other symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, light and sound sensitivities, and vision problems. However, it’s important to note that migraines can look different in children than in adults and can vary from child to child.
    • Chronic mixed headache syndrome: This describes when a child has both chronic tension-type headaches and chronic migraine headaches.
    • New daily persistent headache: This is a constant (all day, every day) headache that seems to start spontaneously. The trigger for this type of headache is clear in some children, but not in others. This type of headache can also have features of either or both tension-type headaches and migraines.
  • Chronic post-traumatic and post-viral headaches: These types of headaches may have started out with a clear cause but now have been persisting longer than we might expect. Examples of these causes include:
    • Viral illnesses and infections: These are common causes of headaches in children. Usually, headaches last through the course of an illness and resolve at the same time as the other symptoms of the illness. We see children whose headaches have persisted after most of the other symptoms of the illness or infection have resolved or persisted much longer than would be expected.
    • Head injuries: Concussions and other head injuries are a common cause of headaches in children. We see children whose headache has persisted after most of the other symptoms of a head injury have resolved or persisted much longer than would be expected.