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October 14, 2017

A Look at Pediatric Abdominal Migraine

What is Pediatric Abdominal Migraine? 
Pediatric abdominal migraine is a condition that is both mysterious and scary, but Oriental Medicine has kid-friendly tools that can help bring relief.

Unlike adolescent or adult migraine which involve pressure and pain in the head, in young children it appears like a headache in the abdomen that can last a few hours or as long as a week.

​​Symptoms of Pediatric Abdominal Migraine:

​It primarily affects children who are three to ten years old and can show up suddenly with symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, sudden loss of appetite, skin sensitivity, and pale complexion. These symptoms also appear in more serious conditions, like appendicitis, so if your child is suddenly sick with the symptoms listed here, it is best to immediately call your pediatrician and/or visit the emergency room.

Cause of Pediatric Abdominal Migraine:
Scientists have not yet identified all of the biomedical mechanisms or causes of migraine, but migraine is known to be hereditary, meaning it runs in families. If Mom and/or Dad suffer from migraine, their child is more prone to experience migraines in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Pediatric Abdominal Migraine Triggers:
One way to help your child is to become aware of specific migraine triggers, or things/activities that can trigger the start of a migraine. Common migraine triggers in children include:

  • Sleep: Not enough sleep, sleeping in too late, waking up too early, getting overtired
  • Meals: Waiting too long between meals, dehydration, high-sugar diet, or food allergy
  • Emotions: Stress or anxiety about something going on at school or home, anger or frustration (can be as simple as feeling anger towards a sibling over not sharing toys)
  • Environmental: Changes in weather, exposure to gusty wind, exposure to bright lights or flickering lights, too much TV or computer screen time, general overstimulation
  • Travel: Car sickness or motion sickness, jet lag

Treatments for Pediatric Abdominal Migraine:
When a child is suffering from symptoms that look like abdominal migraine, I advise parents to carry a small notebook to record the date, time, and events leading up to the abdominal pain, such as long car ride, up late last night, skipped a meal, etc.  Your pediatric acupuncturist or pediatrician can review the log to help identify specific triggers and patterns.

At Indigo Healing Acupuncture we treat pediatric abdominal migraine holistically by examining all aspects of the child’s mind-body-spirit to identify areas of imbalance. Lifestyle adjustments, needle-free painless laser acupuncture, and customized Chinese herb drops can reduce the frequency, severity, and pain of abdominal migraine attacks in children.

Dr. Michelle Wendt

Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), DACM is the founder & owner of Indigo Healing Acupuncture, PLLC.

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