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Grandson confusion

My wife and I have had custody of our grandson for most of his life as our daughter is still trying to find her way. For years our grandson ( he will be 6 in December 2014) has complained of being Dizzy from time to time. At first when he was very young (3) it was difficult to know if he was really that way or just tired or something. As time went on and we started tracking it we realized he had something going on. We started seeing a neurologist. I believe he has had all the test possible, EKG, 2 hr EEG, 48 hr EEG, CTs, MRIs, blood work you name it, he even had a EEG while he was having a dizzy spell ( which usually last most of the day). The thought was he was having some type of seizure. He has been to a ear, nose and throat doctor to see if he may suffer from vertigo. the results were negative. The short of it is she ( the neurologist) did not find any sign of seizure and the good news is his brain, heart and blood are all normal. He is a very healthy boy.

So the conclusion was he is having Migraine headaches which his mother also suffers from. the weird thing which the Docs cant explain is like clock work this happens to him almost every 3 months to the day. it will start with him being sick and vomiting all night long (only at night) and then on the 3rd day after his sick night he will wake up complaining of dizziness. The 2 days in between he is a normal never stop 6 year old. the last 2 times he has been saying that behind his eyes hurt and he has always been sensitive to light on his “dizzy day”. I am a little skeptical on whether he is suffering from migraines although I have no better explanation and I kind of feel that the neurologist came to that conclusion the same way. I have no idea if migraines follow a pattern like this and am not understanding the sickness 3 day prior and have no explanation from the docs.

So maybe someone has experienced this themselves or knows someone who has.

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  • Kristin
    4 years ago

    Hi Bill,

    There is something called “childhood periodic syndrome”. Yes, it is a weird name, but it can happen in young children and can be a precursor for true migraines later in life.

    What tends to happen is the child can experience any one of several types of syndromes- including something called an “abdominal migraine”, which can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting. This can be a precursor to a true migraine- with only a dizziness component to it, which may be what your grandson is experiencing. The “childhood periodic syndrome” tends to be just that- periodic- meaning it usually happens on somewhat of a schedule, but only every few months, which seems to be what’s happening to him. I will post below a few articles for you to look at and maybe something to ask a neurologist? Maybe this will give some insight. But it could mean he is at risk for more frequent migraines in the future- and I agree monitoring with a journal is a great idea!!

    Best of luck,
    Kristin, PA-C

    Migraine Equivalents as Part of Migraine Syndrome in Childhood
    Samuela Tarantino PsyD a,*, Alessandro Capuano MD, PhDa, Roberto Torriero MDa,
    Monica Citti PsyD b, Catello Vollono MD, PhD c, Simonetta Gentile PsyD b,
    Federico Vigevano MDa, Massimiliano Valeriani MD, PhD a,d
    a Headache Centre, Division of Neurology, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesú, Istituto di ricovero e cura a carattere scientifico,
    Rome, Italy
    b Division of Psychology, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesú, Istituto di ricovero e cura a carattere scientifico, Rome, Italy
    c Institute of Neurology, Universitá Cattolica, Rome, Italy
    d Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
    BACKGROUND: Migraine equivalents are common clinical conditions without a headache component, occurring as
    repeated episodes with complete remission between episodes. They include abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting,
    benign paroxysmal vertigo, and benign paroxysmal torticollis. Other clinical entities, such as motion sickness
    and limb pain have been associated with migraine.We aimed to investigate the prevalence of migraine equivalents
    in a large population of children referred to a pediatric headache center and to analyze the possible relationship
    between migraine equivalents and headache features.METHODS: A total of 1134 of children/adolescents (73.2% with
    migraine and 26.8% with tension-type headache) were included. Patients were divided into two groups according
    to the episode frequency (high and low). Pain intensity was rated on a three-level graduate scale (mild, moderate,
    and severe pain). RESULTS: Migraine equivalents were reported in 70.3% of patients. Abdominal migraine (48.9%),
    limb pain (43.9%), and motion sickness (40.5%) were the most common migraine equivalents. Although headache
    type (migraine or tension-type headache) did not correlate with migraine equivalents presence (c2 ¼ 33.2;
    P ¼ 0.27), high frequency of headache episodes correlated with the occurrence of migraine equivalents. Moreover,
    migraine equivalents indicated a protective role for some accompanying feature of the headache episode. CONCLUSIONS:
    Our results suggest that migraine equivalents should not be considered merely as headache precursors,
    but they as part of the migrainous syndrome. Thus, their inclusion among the diagnostic criteria for pediatric
    migraine/tension-type headache is useful.
    Keywords: migraine equivalents, childhood periodic syndromes, abdominal migraine, limb pain, motion sickness, childhood
    Pediatr Neurol 2014; 51: 645-649
     2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Curr Opin Neurol. 2013 Jun;26(3):262-8. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32836085c7.
    Migraine and childhood periodic syndromes in children and adolescents.
    Gelfand AA.
    Author information Department of Neurology, Divisions of Child Neurology, Headache Center, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review covers recent advances in our understanding of migraine and childhood periodic syndromes in children and adolescents, as well as the treatment of these disorders.
    RECENT FINDINGS: The childhood periodic syndromes include benign paroxysmal torticollis, benign paroxysmal vertigo, abdominal migraine, and cyclic vomiting syndrome. Recent research suggests infant colic may also fit into this category. Migraine headache is common in children and adolescents, and chronic migraine effects 0.8-1.8% of adolescents and 0.6% of children. Two triptans are now FDA-approved for the acute treatment of migraine in pediatric patients. For preventive therapy, a number of medications have been studied and a major national trial is ongoing.
    SUMMARY: Childhood periodic syndromes are thought to be early life expressions of those genes that later in life are expressed as migraine headache. Future research into mechanisms of identifying children with these disorders prior to extensive and often invasive testing would be of benefit to these families and children. Migraine-specific therapies are now approved for the acute treatment of migraine in pediatric patients. Preventive migraine therapy is indicated in appropriate patients, although which medications are most effective in children is an area of active research.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    The symptoms your grandson is having do sound like they very well could be related to Migraines. Even at such a young age, he can be affected. I was diagnosed at age 5 and remember how frustrating is was (and still is).

    There is something called Migraine Associated Vertigo or MAV. Here’s a great article:

    It seems like the 3 days where he is vomiting and in pain behind his eyes is the actual Migraine. Then when the dizziness happens days later could be part of his postdrome (or the stage where he is starting to recover from the Migraine). But it’s hard to say whether the dizziness causes the Migraines or the Migraines cause the dizziness.

    The best way to avoid the Migraines and dizziness is to start a Migraine journal for him. Especially since he gets them every 3 months, there could be something in his diet, in his activities, or even in the changing of the seasons that triggers these for him.

    I’m not a doctor, so if you feel there is something else going on, don’t be afraid to get a second medical opinion.

    This link also has some great articles about children and Migraines.

    I hope some of this helps!
    -Katie Moderator

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