According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, almost two out of three children will experience a headache by age 15. Headaches are the most common form of pain and reason for missed school or work, and account for some of the most frequent visits to the doctor.
Depending on the severity, a headache can interfere with normal daily life. More and more children are presenting with headaches ranging from mild and sporadic, to severe and continuous. Headaches can often be resolved without physician interaction, but painful, frequent headaches in children and teens may need to be evaluated by a pediatric neurologist.
So when are headaches more than just an inconvenience? Daniel Lacey, MD, pediatric neurologist, would recommend making a referral to a pediatric neurologist when headaches:
- Interfere with activities of daily living including school, sports, family activities, etc. If the headaches are disabling to the child or teen they should be evaluated.
- Are becoming more frequent and/or severe, are unilateral or posterior in location.
- Awaken the child from sleep.
- Are associated with any abnormalities on neurologic examination.
- Occur more than 3-4 times per month. Daily preventative medication may be appropriate.
- Occur in a patient with a seizure disorder (epilepsy).
Dr. Lacey specializes in headaches and pain management in children. He is board-certified in pediatric neurology and trained to evaluate and care for children with chronic headaches, and is the lead physician in Dayton Children's pain clinic . Pain clinic is held every second and fourth Friday from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm, and neurology clinics are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
Refer your patient to the pain clinic or pediatric neurology. For questions, call 937-641-3080.
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