Treating Pediatric Migraine

Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, FAHS, talks about how to make children living with migraine more comfortable

Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, FAHS, of Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Brenner Children’s Hospital, recently spoke about what physicians should think about when treating pediatric migraine treatment. Watch the full interview from the 2018 Scottsdale Headache Symposium here:

When she trains someone without pediatric headache experience, Strauss underscores the difference between pediatric visits and those with adult patients. 

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“We are not just treating pediatric migraine,” she says. “We’re also treating the child’s parents or guardians, so our visit is going to be very dynamic. Sometimes, there are a lot of people that come to these appointments.”

But Strauss highlights that with all this going on, providers need to listen to the child they’re treating. She notes the importance of asking them directly about what pain they are experiencing and what they are feeling. 

“If they feel engaged in their own care and their voice is heard, they’re more likely to take their medications and understand what’s happening to their body,” she says. “Then it becomes less scary for them.” 

Strauss also notes that, even though it’s a serious topic, treatment should be a “fun” experience for the child. 

“If they pick up on negative body language from you or their parents, they’re less likely to participate,” she says. “It gets harder to get more information out of them and do a proper exam.”

Providers can engage pediatric patients by trying to connect with them on a different level. Asking them about their favorite school subject, for example, can help them feel more comfortable. It can also put their parents at ease, Strauss notes. 

“Engaging directly with the child I think is really reassuring to the parents,” she says. “They see that the provider understands their child—the reason they’re there in the first place.” 

This video is part of the American Headache Society’s video library. This collection is a valuable resource for health care providers treating or studying headache and face pain. This library provides information about patient care and developments in headache medicine in an easily digestible way. Check out our video offerings here.

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