According to a combined study by over 10 international research facilities, headaches are becoming more prevalent among school kids. Results show between 66 and 71 percent of 12 to 15 year olds having at least one headache every three months, and 33 to 40 percent having at least one per week on average.
Headache is often accompanied by other physical and/or emotional manifestations. The same study identified various factors – a dysfunctional family situation, the regular consumption of alcohol, caffeine ingestion, smoking, a low level of physical activity, physical or emotional abuse, bullying by peers, unfair treatment in school, and insufficient leisure time – can be individually linked to headaches in children.
The link between learning disabilities and migraines
Medical records of kids and teens visiting paediatric neurology clinics reviewed over a one-year period show that among first-time patients, 24 percent were formally diagnosed with learning disabilities, and a staggering 28 percent with ADHD.
Dr Elliot Shevel, migraine surgeon and medical director of The Headache Clinic since its inception in 1992 concurs, ‘Research shows poor to average academic performance is more common among children with headaches. We should look deeper at poor performance. It may be more complicated than a parent might think.’
Missing class and migraines
Another recent study suggests a staggering 30 percent of tertiary students suffer from headaches severe enough to miss class. The Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used to measure the severity of migraines in each student. A total of 344 university students participated in this peer-reviewed study. From the sample, 30.8 percent (106 students) have missed class, and of those 8.7 percent (30 students) have had to seek emergency services.