ISHPEMING — New research shows that there’s a connection between back to school stress and headaches.

Does back to school seem like a real headache to you? What about to your child?

Findings from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio show that headaches increase in the fall for children due to stress and other factors that come with starting a new school year.

Ann Palaknis, MD from Nationwide Children’s Hospital says, “We think the stress with adjusting to a new school schedule and a new routine really plays a significant role, and then of course homework, and they’re not getting enough sleep, and those factors.”

Howard S. Jacobs from Nationwide Children’s Hospital says, “Stress is major cause in migraines for kids, and tension headaches. So fall is usually a busy time for us because kids start getting back into school.”

A tension headache feels like a tightening around the head, and is most common. A migraine is less common in children but is more severe. Migraines are associated with nausea, and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Parents should work together with their child and their child’s doctor to monitor, manage and prevent headaches.

“Keep a diary of the headaches, keep track of them, if they do have migraines or tension headaches, or if you do notice they’re starting,” Dr. Palaknis added, “you to have the child get in and have a diagnosis made, because there’s many new medications that are available that have been FDA approved for a treatment of migraine even in this past year.”

If you choose to use over the counter medication at home, make sure to be careful and monitor how it’s affects you or your child.

“People with headaches can be sensitive to pain medicine,” Dr. Jacobs added, “in that if they take them too often, they start to make their headaches worse and it’s a trap you fall into.”

Dr. Jacobs says at that point try making sure you eat three meals a day, drink enough liquids and get a good night’s sleep – no napping allowed.

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