KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Headaches are common in kids and can be caused by a variety of reasons, this is why it can be difficult to know when it’s a passing pain or something more serious like a migraine.

Dr. Katy Stordahl from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital explains that migraines often include throbbing on one side of the head that often worsens with activities. Migraines can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vision problems like seeing flashing lights, light and sound sensitivity, and even tingling.

Any child can get a migraine. About 10% of younger kids get them, but more than 25% of teens get migraines. About half the people who get migraines will have their first one before the age of 12.

Causes, risk factors and triggers of Migraines:

  • Family history
    • Migraines tend to run in families. If one parent has them, there is a 50% chance the child can. If both parents suffer from migraines, the chance is closer to 90%.
  • Gender
    • Before puberty, boys have more migraines than girls. That flips in the teen years. For adults, migraines are more common in women.
  • Stress and sleep
    • Irregular sleep schedules can be a trigger.
  • Food and fluids
    • Skipping meals and eating certain foods and additives can set off migraines. Common triggers include aged cheeses and meats, chocolate, citrus fruits, red and yellow food dyes, and the artificial sweetener aspartame.
  • Weather
    • Stormy weather with changes in barometric pressure, extreme heat or cold, bright sunlight and glare can all be triggers.

For many children, sleep resolves a migraine. You should consult your child’s doctor for any severe headaches or patterns of headaches. A doctor can determine the best path of treatment for your child.

Stordahl also shares that recent research suggests that children who had colic as babies may be more prone to develop migraines. One study found children with migraines were seven times more likely to have been colicky infants.