After having 6, yes 6 phone calls in two weeks regarding teens and migraines I decided to dive into some research to try to figure out what was happening. I have been an adolescent therapist for over 15 years and rarely heard of a teen with migraines. Now I have had 6 calls in two weeks and have noticed in the last few years more clients reporting issues with migraines.
According to the Cleveland Clinic (2018) a migraine happens when nerve cells send out impulses to blood vessels causing constriction then dilation of the vessels. The exact cause isn’t known however there are some triggers. These triggers normally include emotional stress, ovulation, skipping meals, caffeine, weather changes, medications, and certain preservatives. Stress is a trigger for nearly 70% of individuals (Theeler et. al 2009).
Treatment normally consists of headache eduction, relaxation techniques, and medication. According to the American Migraine Foundation behavioral therapy helps patients learn how to control stress better and is important for young patients. A study in the Cambridge Core (Cathcart et. al 2014) showed that an increase in mindfulness may be effective.
Although therapy is not the cure for migraines it can certainly help teens learn to manage stress better in order to decrease the frequency and intensity of them.