HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 2, Issue 2 - Page 24

growing pains By Howard Jacobs, MD Stranger Than Fiction These five childhood migraines are rare and bizarre. One even mimics the events of a storybook. OU’VE HAD MIGRAINES BEFORE, and you suspect your 12-year-old son has them, too. One evening, he comes running into the room holding his head and crying. He tries to speak, but nothing understandable comes out. Your first thought: My son is having a stroke! You call 911. Paramedics arrive and drive your child to the emergency room. But a CT scan reveals nothing abnormal. It’s the kind of event that can make you panic and leave you reeling. Headache among children is not uncommon. In fact, anywhere from 37 to 51 percent of elementary age children experience headache. Migraines are the recurring headache most frequently reported among the pediatric population, affecting 1 in 10 children. But some migraines are far from common and need to be addressed immediately. A RARE BREED Y The following obscure migraines represent some of the frightening headache disorders that could arise among children and adolescents. 1. CONFUSIONAL MIGRAINE involves a headache associated with disorientation and an inability to communicate, often the result of a minor head injury. The condition, typically seen in preteens and early teenagers (more often boys than girls), results in confusion and even combative behavior. Interestingly, confusional migraine may come with no headache at all. And while it may last up to several hours, it usually resolves spontaneously, never to appear again. 2. “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” SYNDROME Strange symptom: inability to communicate The scenario described in the introduction could occur in a child with confusional migraine. First noted in 1970 in the journal Pediatrics, confusional migraine 22 HEAD WISE | Volume 2, Issue 2 • 2012 Strange symptom: visual distortion of bodily image Although migraine is relatively common among ©SSPL VIA GETTY IMAGES