10 year old daughter with unusual headaches

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My 10 years old daughter has been suffering with unusual headaches for the last 4 weeks. She has about 20-30 headache attacks a day lasting 5-20 minutes each. This is often accompanied with feeling sick. Bright light, reading and concentration sometimes triggers the headaches though often, they occur during play and fun times. I took her to the doctor after a few days and he suggested that it's migraines and prescribed her 400mg Ibuprofen. As she only weighs 22 kg, I thought this seemed a bit high as the leaflet stated that it should not be given to kids under 40kg. Instead I gave her a few increased doses on Nurofen (as advised by the pharmacist who also thought it inappropriate to give her 400mg Ibuprofen) for kids but it didn't help at all. I guess mainly because it didn't prevent an attack and because of the timing, wouldn't act quick enough to relieve an existing attack. Having been back to the doctor a couple more times, she's had a blood test that showed a very low allergy indication though the doctor didn't think it worth persuing. She has had quite a stressful time over the last 7 months of our time in Germany though is quite a toughie and seems to cope well with lots of family support.

 

The last doctor I saw gave me referral forms plus a list of practices for me to contact to arrange a MRI scan and Neurology examination. It's very frustrating as the most practices on the list say they don't deal with children or they cannot offer an appointment for months though I tell them that the doctor told me to stress the urgency. I asked the doctor about this again and he just says that's the way it is here in Germany. I just can't imagine that it is OK to leave a little kid hanging on so long for a diagnosis. I also cannot give her pain killers for an extended period of time.

 

Another point is that I too had headaches as a kid. This was due to my needing reading glasses. I managed a small miracle and got an appointment within a few days to see the Eye doctor. I was quite convinced that it would turn out that she would need glasses. I was very surprised that the doctor simply looked in her eyes, did a few simple things like, hold hand over an eye and read 3 numbers, look left, right up and down etc. He said that there's nothing wrong with her eyes and doesn't need glasses. Back in England, test have always been far more detailed. Is this sort of simple test really enough to determine perfect vision and that nothing eye related is causing headaches? The eye doc suggested I get more tests including Chiropractor.

 

Sorry this is getting very long now! Can anyone suggest a way that I can escalate this in some way as it's very frustrating being pushed from one doc to another with no sign of my daughter's headaches getting any better. Does anyone have similar experiences? Are there any private routes to take?

 

Thank you so much in anticipation

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I wish I knew the answer. If you are not happy with your doctor, maybe you should change him/her.

 

I only realised a while back that if you are only wanting to get glasses, you go to the optician and get your eyes tested. My doctor had tested my eyes but the optician is obliged to retest them. My optician came up with different values, too.

 

One thought that just went through my mind - maybe she is going through a growth spurt? Did you go to your GP or to a paediatrician?

 

Good luck for you and your daughter.

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The thing about opticians is that at least at Apollo where we buy our glasses, a child under 18 needs a prescription from an eye doctor in the first place. I suppose they might do an eye test, but without a prescription you couldn't get glasses anyway. I do think the eye doctor should have done a more thorough job. Maybe try to find another one and get a second opinion to at least rule that out completely.

 

I'm appalled that the doc would suggest that amount of ibuprofen for a small girl.

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I'm glad you're taking this seriously - a lot of parents just think their kid is over-reacting to something when it couldn't be further from the truth. Is the headache "all over", or does she have it more on one side than the other?

 

I have suffered from cluster headaches for nearly 15 years - they are a fairly rare type of migraine that is usually one sided (for me it feels like a huge knife through my left eye), and comes in clusters of attacks like you describe. There isn't any cure at the moment, but there are treatments. They are really rare in kids, but some people find help from drinking large amounts of water, or from being exposed to pure oxygen for a short period of time when they feel them coming on (yes, prescription oxygen tanks...dunno how that would work in Germany). The good thing is that these would not have any adverse effects on a growing kid.

 

If it is a migraine or cluster headache, it is doubtful that ibuprofen will make any difference. Will they prescribe any real migraine meds for little kids? What a tough situation.

 

Keep fighting for your little one. Send me a PM if you'd like any more info on cluster headaches.

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I just can't imagine that it is OK to leave a little kid hanging on so long for a diagnosis. I also cannot give her pain killers for an extended period of time.

 

No, it's not okay but the solution is hard to come up with. I sincerely sympathise with you. You will have to persist on all fronts. That means contacting again at least those in the lists who said they did deal with children for MRI scans. Accept the appointment they give you. Then keep ringing them and ask each time if they cannot bring the appointment forward. Take the first appointment when it comes and cancel the others afterwards.

 

Is there a university clinic you could go to? Or a children's hospital? Consider going to a hospital emergency. See how they react. It is a difficult and worrying situation.

 

I would definitely try another GP and another optician.

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What kind of insurance do you have, public or private? The AOK offers help when their clients can't get a doctor's appointment within a reasonable time span, see Hilfe bei der Vermittlung. Your insurance is likely to offer a similar service.

 

As for the rest, proscribing high-dosis pain relief for such a young child seems a very inadecuate treatment to me, too. It's not a durable solution anyway.

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Try contacting the Kinderkrankenhaus (pediatric hospital) in your area. There are two, and both offer what is called a "Tagesklinik" where diagnostic tests and treatments are done that don't require stationary care.

 

The Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst requires a referral from your pediatrician, but as far as I can see, the Clementine Kinderhospital allows you to make appointments direct. In any case, I think it would be worth contacting them to get their input as to urgency - your GP (pediatrician?) doesn't sound - at least to me - as though he is really taking this as seriously as he should. And certainly doping her up is not a good idea!

 

I'm sorry, but I can't give you any info on the one clinic versus the other, this is purely info from Google. However, I would urge you to be persistent and get things moving. All the best for you and your daughter!

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First I would definitively recommend to see a Kinderazt and not a " normal" doctor.

 

Your daughter has extremly little weight, about 85 % of all children in her age do have more. How tall is she?

 

Could it be that your daughter has, due to her small body and due to beginning puberty , a too low blood pressure, at times? I suffered a lot from this back then, leaving me with sudden headaches and " fatigue".

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The others have given you some great advice but I thought I'd throw my two cents in.

 

About the chiropractor, I urge you to not consider this a throwaway idea. I had ongoing headaches caused by extreme stress at work that caused a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders. It would go away, but then would also sneak back up on me again. It wasn't until I started seeing an osteopath and he relieved the pressure of a pinched nerve in my neck that the headaches went away. Apparently most headaches don't necessarily "start" in the head, that's just where they manifest. I'm told that chiropractors can be similarly effective so from personal experience I would consider that route as soon as possible. I felt immediate relief and the effect was also long term - now I only go a couple of times per year. So no matter how well she appears to be coping on the outside, she might be internalizing the stress so it might be well worth a look.

 

Another thing to consider is that it could (even partly) be a hormonal thing as she's entering puberty and all those chemicals are pulsing around. Can be particularly tough for your girls, especially if she has such a low body weight.

 

And my final thought is that the low body weight could be part of the issue. Is she eating properly and getting all the appropriate nutrition?

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The only advise I can suggest is to do as others say regarding a children's specialist doctor or hospital. Please though, no matter how tempting it may be, to self diagnose your child's health issues. What happened with you as a child may be completely different to what is happening with your child, the only people who should diagnose are professionals.

 

Doctors though, are humans as well. Which means there are good doctors, and not so good ones. Not all musicians are of the same quality and skill, and it's the same with doctors. If you are not happy with your current one, see another, and when it comes to children, certainly try to see a specialist for kids if it seems serious. Child healthcare is a completely different branch of medicine. Doctors do of course study the basics, but in their studies they can only fit in so much. Specialists work with children all the time and know far more about their special needs.

 

Don't be afraid to ask your next doctor for a referral for instance to the Klinikum the.frollein suggested. And keep persevering.

 

Also, don't be too dismayed if doctors don't seem to think your situation is as grave as you do. They see so many cases every day, and you would be surprised how many of their patients thought and insisted that they or their kids were on deaths bed. If they responded to every case as if it was a desperate emergency, medical facilities would be completely over run. It is all very good for us to assume we are correct and that they, despite their years of training and day to day experience are wrong, but when it is ourselves or our loved ones, we so often do. They do, it must be said, generally get things right. But of cause not always, so do get other opinions from other doctors or a specialist.

 

I wish you and your daughter all the best.

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You can ask the doc who advised an MRI for a referral to this children's hospital:

http://www.clementin...derhospital.de/

 

And though a lot of people seem to have headaches from the very dry air, it may be the reason it gets worse, but apparently not the cause. If you don't want to give her meds all the time you can try magnesium and lots of water.

 

But I'd get her to the hospital to have scans done.

 

Edit:

As far as I can see from their website you don't even need a referral.

 

Clementine Kinderhospital

Theobald-Christ-Straße 16

60316 Frankfurt am Main

 

Telefon (069) 9 49 92 - 0

 

 

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Why didn't the doctor do some blood work? She's suffering headaches and is possibly under weight, right? Get some blood work done.

 

My niece was ill for months and my sister-in-law who didn't see her that often noticed her swollen neck, constant hunger, bulging eyes and asked if they did some thyroid checks. That was it, hyperthyroidism. My sis-in-law is not a nurse and the best pediatrician in the city missed it.

 

Edit: btw, my other niece (different brother) started her periods at age 10. My sis-in-law called me to ask when I started mine as a reference.

 

Good Luck.

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For all :

 

The fruits CLEMNTIN and MANDARIN are coated with chemical orthophenylphenol and some more. These are chemicals which shoot down fungus growth on fruit and prolong shelf life but can cause side effects like numbness or headaches as well.

 

Oranges have it too but the skin of normal oranges are thick enough not letting the chemicals pass down to fruit inside the skin.

 

Be careful here.

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Thank you all so much for your kind replies. The first thing that I'll sort is an appointment with a paediatrician to assess my daughter's overall situation. Just to answer some of the points...

 

- My daughter has always been on the lowest level of the centile growth charts though does follow the line. She is petite as her father is Malaysian/Chinese.

 

- As a baby, she was allergic to dairy products. The UK doc thought she had grown out of it.

 

- We now keep a diary just to focus on what she eats, drinks and her activities. What triggers a headache and what relieves it.

 

- She eats a good healthy diet - only kid junk sometimes.

 

- She has had a growth spurt recently so I guess this could have some effect.

 

- There is definitely evidence of puberty so hormones are racing too!

 

- She takes a kids multivit plus occasionsl chewy magnesium as suggested by the pharmacist

 

- The doctor did do a blood test that only indicated a low level of allergy that he felt was too low to follow up. I'm not sure what else was tested

 

Regarding the chiroprator, what I didn't mention before was that a few weeks prior to the headaches starting, my daughter had a problem with severe pains in her chest. Again it was a number of times a day and would be so bad that she would be in tears. She's absolutely not a cryer so it must have been bad. She had just started secondary school and had to carry all her books with her every day in a rucksack. After a couple of weeks I thought it was ridiculous that a child weighing only 22kg had to schlep a 9kg bag to each class. I eventually found a trolley on the internet that the rucksack fits into well and luckily is considered quite cool at school! I explained all this to the doctor at the time and he said her pains have nothing to do with this and sent her to hospital to check for Tietze syndrome. Sounds worse than it is - just means an inflamation of the sternum/ribs often caused by trauma. Yet another long story...they didn't identify anything as the hopital doctors said they didn't know what the Haus doctor meant by Tietze syndrome. After a few weeks of rest and avoiding Sport, it is much better. I have to mention that as we hardly ever go to the doc (once every 18-24 months if that), the fact that there were 2 episodes in a short space of time made me feel that the headaches were connected somehow. Again, the doctor dismissed this. I asked him if a chiropractor might help. Again, he said no. I sounds like it might make some sense?

 

Thank you once again. It has really helped to get some ideas on what to do and not be implied as a mad neurotic mother. Doesn't help that my new Mother-in-Law (the only one I've ever had) takes an old fashioned approach to child rearing and tells me "Mach net so a geshiss" followed by mumbling insinuations that my daughter is making it up and attention seeking! The joys of family!

 

Thank you

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Hi Green Tree...thank you for your post. Funnily enough, I just got to thinking about the amount or clementines and orange juice my daughter consumes. At the back of my mind I seem to remember being told not to eat or drink orange with headaches. We'll cut them out and see what happens.

 

Thanks again

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A good doc would call and get her into radiology him/herself. Mine has done for me a few times when it was urgent.

 

Find a better doc.

 

All the best.

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Go to another Kinderartz pronto. A peadiatrician should know which MRI Practice etc deals with kids etc. You are not tied to the doctor here and if you're not happy go elsewhere.

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chiropractor? Be careful about taking your child to a chiropractor emkay. Most people assume chiropractors are trained medical professionals who specialize in back remedies. It is true that they do concern themselves with such things, but the level of training is far lower than a real medical practitioner would obtain and much of their training has little to do with backs but more to do with spiritual healing.

 

The core principle of Chiropractic believe is the concept of vertebral subluxation. This is not based on science and is entirely a different phenomenon from an orthopedic subluxation, which is a real medical condition, and is unrelated. Chiropractors vary from the straight believers that exclusively follow the original religious doctrine developed in 1895 where magnets can manipulate a spiritual essence called "innate intelligence." and can cure every known illness to mankind, from the common cold to cancer and brain tumors. Whilst others are "mixers" which retain this belief but mix it with some of the fundamentals of orthopedics and physical therapy.

 

The catch is, you never quite know how much of this is the case. Why trust a medical industry which is based more on unproven spiritual beliefs rather than one based on pure science, tests and results. There is nothing wrong with spiritual enlightenment, but like I wouldn't recommend you to pray to your deity instead of visiting a doctor for heath reasons, I wouldn't suggest trusting a potentially untrained medical practitioner to your daughters health.

 

If you or your daughter have some medical condition that you've been treating with chiropractic, consider going to a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis. If an athletic massage or physical therapy are prescribed by your doctor, go to a proper physical therapist or licensed massage therapist, who are able to give you better treatment, legally and with the proper training under their belt, and who understand the medical basis for their treatment. You can only do better than with a chiropractor whose training is founded upon a 1895 conjecture of innate intelligence.

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Lots of good advice and links here already. If you are already keeping a food diary get into the habit of keeping a detailed symptom diary as well. Be aware of all symptoms such as visual disturbances or nausea because it's possible this is migraine which is often hormone or allergy related. But there may be another cause so do take the very first MRI and Neurology appt. that is available and if symptoms become severe outside surgery hours just take her to a children's hospital.

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