In the pursuit of making today’s kids smarter, parents often resort to exposing them to electronics, technology and all the things convenient. While it does make the child smarter and more intelligent compared to the kids of few generations ago, such leniency from parents is also putting the child at risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as migraine. The incidence of migraine in childhood has substantially increased over the past 30 years, probably due to both increased awareness of the disease and lifestyle changes in this age group1.
In this blog, we will explore the connection between an adolescent’s lifestyle and migraine.
Screen exposure and migraine –
Who can escape the domination of smart phones today? When adults are so dependent on mobile phones, imagine how vulnerable the kids would be. According to a research published in Scientific Reports, excessive usage of mobile phones has shown to have detrimental effects on headache, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, impairment of short-term memory, dizziness, tinnitus, fatigue, and benign warming of the ear2.
When an adolescent spends more time looking at a screen (mobile phone, computer or TV) the low intensity frequency microwave energy emitted from these devices may meddle with the important functioning of the brain, increasing the risk of migraine headache2.
It is therefore imperative that parents keep a watchful eye on their kid’s screen time and impose a limit on the usage to avoid frequent migraine headaches.
Poor diet and migraine –
Our diet is the mainstay of our health. If the diet is improper, health can be compromised. As junk food has overpowered every adolescent’s diet, it is extremely difficult to escape the negative consequences of junk food.
Too much consumption of high calorie food dense in fats, cholesterol and salts has given rise to obesity. An increasing number of reports suggest that obesity is a risk factor for migraine progression and migraine frequency in adults as well as in children3.
Stress and migraine –
Several studies have identified stress as a major trigger of migraine attacks4. As the events that cause stress in adults and children differs, it is important to monitor kid’s behaviour and their surroundings.
Common situations that cause stress in kids are dysfunctional family situation, low level of physical activity, physical or emotional abuse, bullying by peers, unfair treatment in school and insufficient leisure time4.Lack of sleep and migraine –
Lack of sleep in children is also among the main offenders that cause migraine. Staying up late for studying or partying late with friends consumes their sleep time of 9-91/2 hours.
Disrupted sleep-wake patterns have been shown to predispose individuals to headache attacks and increase the risk of chronic migraine5.
Managing your adolescents lifestyle –
If your child is young or a teenager and suffers from migraine, talk to them about their condition. The more open and supportive you be, your child will confide their feelings in you and also obey your health advice.
Following are some lifestyle modifications you can incorporate in your child’s life –
- Ensure their diet is rich in nutrients and restrict their intake of junk food. Encourage them to eat home cooked food.
- Let your child get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Moreover, encourage them to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Most importantly, restrict their screen exposure.
- Play time is extremely important, even in older kids. Ensure your child enjoys free playing time every day so that it reduces the stress levels and keeps them healthy.
- Consult your doctor and keep their medications handy all time.
- If your child is bullied at school or college, motivate them to speak up and take appropriate actions. Your love and support is all that they need at this age.
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- Neurol Sci. 2015 May;36 Suppl 1:97-100.
- Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 12595 (2017)
- Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 420858.
- Ups J Med Sci. 2011 Aug; 116(3): 187–199.
- J Headache Pain. 2015; 16: 18