Neurologists at Boston Children’s Hospital will evaluate your child’s headaches and any related medical conditions to determine the type of headache your child is suffering and investigate the possible cause or causes for the pain. If relevant and available, we also review previous medical records and images.
The first appointment takes about two to three hours, because each member of the team spends the time necessary to talk with you and your child in depth so we can better understand your child’s condition and potential pain triggers. We consider you and your child to be integral parts of the care team. Your observations about your child’s headaches are invaluable to us, and we will take time to talk with you and your child about the treatment plan and discuss any questions you have.
Once the evaluation is complete, we develop a therapeutic plan to lessen your child’s headaches and help you all to return to your normal lives.
Preparing for your appointment
Writing down notes about your child’s headaches in a headache diary (pdf) — or just keeping track of them on your regular calendar — is very helpful. The diary could reveal not only the headache frequency, but potential triggers, and can help us to make a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. We encourage you to bring your diary or calendar with you to your initial appointment.
While your assistance is certainly necessary in keeping the diary for young children, we find that encouraging teenagers to track their own pain in the diary is an effective way for your child to not only learn more about his or her headaches, but to have more control over the situation as well, and to improve self-confidence.
Before your appointment, we will send you a packet of forms we’d like for you to fill out before you arrive. These in-depth questions will help us understand your child’s condition better.
If your child has had previous evaluations, lab studies, and imaging related to headaches from facilities outside Boston Children’s Hospital, or any of our satellite centers, please send those records to us before your appointment. (You can find our mailing address here.)
We will take time to review them before the appointment and make the visit more productive. If you are unable send them ahead of time, please bring them with you. If possible, please bring or send the CD with actual images of any radiologic studies performed outside of Boston Children’s Hospital.
Coming to Boston Children’s
We understand that for families not living in the Boston area, travel time may be a significant limiting factor. Therefore, during the first appointment we will try to find specialists in your area who can provide any indicated follow-up care.