My poor son inherited my Migraines

I began having severe migraines about 10 years ago, and being the child of a migraine sufferer, I finally understood why my mother would be locked in her dark bedroom, up to 3 days at a time, while having an episode! About 3 years ago, mine became more severe AND more frequent, occurring about 3 times a week. It seemed to coincide with the onset of extreme anxiety and the inability to “shut” my brain off at night. My doctor prescribed Amitriptyline, an older anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication, which has also proven to be a migraine preventative (and makes you drowsy). After starting with this course of treatment, the frequency of my migraines greatly decreased, and I was able to fall asleep much more easily.

Sadly, about 3 years ago, my son who is now 11, began getting migraines that were much more severe than mine, causing him to vomit several times in a day, while experiencing an episode. Once his migraines increased in frequency, we began seeing a pediatric neurologist who immediately recommended having his eyes checked. I thought for sure this would be our answer, since my husband and I, and both of our parents, all have poor vision. We visited the opthamologist and learned his vision is excellent, 20/15, to be precise! He was then scheduled for an MRI, which also showed no problematic areas in the brain that could be the cause.


My son unfortunately, also inherited my anxiety issues (which I inherited from my mother and grandmother), and I feel like this is his migraine trigger. We have been in therapy for a year now, for his anxiety, which has helped somewhat, giving him better coping skills, but the migraines have continued, occurring usually during times of stress or over excitement, such as End of Grade exams, first days of school, large family gatherings, etc..

It is so hard to see someone so young dealing with things so debilitating as migraines and anxiety…I didn’t have to learn to cope with those things until I was in my 30’s, and even as an adult, it was extremely difficult to handle or control. We’ve began keeping a headache journal, so we can try to pinpoint his trigger, and I’ve noticed a pattern…while they do occur on days with high-stress levels, the weather seems to be very telling as well! The Spring has been difficult so far, with all the rain we’ve been getting, and I’ve realized on rainy days lately, he will get a migraine. I’ve heard that this is common, as the changes in the barometric pressure affect us individually.

If there are any parents of children with migraines, I’d love to hear your story. Due to my son’s anxiety issues, combined with the migraines, our neurologist informed us that what I currently take, Amitriptyline, may be an option for him, but as much as I want my son to be able to manage his migraines, the thought of medicating him makes me a little uneasy. Our pharmacist was even surprised when he was once prescribed a strong pain killer by an Urgent Care doctor, and said he’d never seen such a potent drug prescribed for a child his age!

So if anyone out there has a go-to remedy that provides some relief for their child, other than junior strength ibuprofen and a cold headache wrap, please share!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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