Headache in children: Approach to evaluation and general management strategies
- Daniel J Bonthius, MD, PhD
Daniel J Bonthius, MD, PhD
- Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology
- University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
- Andrew G Lee, MD
Andrew G Lee, MD
- Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Neurological Surgery
- Weill Cornell College of Medicine
- Andrew D Hershey, MD, PhD, FAHS
Andrew D Hershey, MD, PhD, FAHS
- Endowed Chair and Director of Neurology
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
- Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology
- University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
- Section Editors
- Jan E Drutz, MD
Jan E Drutz, MD
- Section Editor — General Pediatrics
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Marc C Patterson, MD, FRACP
Marc C Patterson, MD, FRACP
- Section Editor — Pediatric Neurology
- Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Medical Genetics
- Chair, Division of Child and Adolescent Neurology
- Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
- Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
- Section Editor — Headache
- Professor of Neurology
- Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Headache (commonly thought of as pain located above the orbitomeatal line) is one of the most common complaints in children and adolescents.
The prevalence increases with age. Children who complain of headache usually are brought to medical attention by their parents due to missing school or social activity or concerns of an ominous etiology such as a brain tumor or an untreatable cause. The first step in evaluation is a thorough history, physical, and neurologic examination. If these are abnormal or suspicious for a secondary etiology, additional diagnostic testing is performed.
An overview of the causes, evaluation, and management of headache in children will be presented here. The emergent evaluation of headache in children, specific primary headache syndromes in children, and headache related to exertion are discussed separately:To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- Primary headache
- - Migraine
- - Tension-type headaches
- - Cluster headaches
- Secondary headache
- CLINICAL PRESENTATION
- - Headache pattern
- Physical examination
- Worrisome findings
- - Indications
- - Timing
- - Which imaging study?
- Laboratory evaluation
- - Lumbar puncture
- - Other tests
- INDICATIONS FOR REFERRAL
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS