Author(s): Straube A, Heinen F, Ebinger F, von Kries R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Recurrent headache is a common problem in school children. Evaluation generally leads to the diagnosis of a primary headache syndrome (migraine or tension-type headache). This review is addressed to the question whether headaches in school children are becoming more common and, if so, what risk factors are associated with the rise in frequency. METHOD: We selectively searched the PubMed database for pertinent publications that contained the terms "primary headache AND children/adolescent AND risk factors/prevalence." Articles published in either English or German up to April 2013 were considered. Articles on secondary types of headache were excluded. RESULTS: Headaches are becoming more common among school children. At present, 66\% to 71\% of 12- to 15- year-olds have at least one headache every three months, and 33\% to 40\% have at least one per week. Headache is often accompanied by other physical and/or emotional manifestations. Studies from Scandinavia reveal increasing prevalence in age groups from 8 years of age and upward. Various studies have identified the following risk factors for headache or for its chronification (up to 5.8-fold elevation of risk): a dysfunctional family situation, the regular consumption of alcohol, caffeine ingestion, smoking, a low level of physical activity, physical or emotional abuse, bullying by peers, unfair treatment in school, and insufficient leisure time. CONCLUSION: Headaches are becoming more common among children and adolescents. They are often associated with other physical and emotional complaints.
This article was published in Dtsch Arztebl Int
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology