Headaches in Adolescents

Headaches in adolescents can cause difficulties in school, irritability and depression. The team at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital will provide the headache care your child needs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, almost two out of three teens will complain of a headache each month. Genetics, hormones, stress, diet, medications and dehydration can contribute to headaches.

The most common types of headaches


Nearly 10 percent of teens experience migraine headcahes. There is often a family history of migraine headaches. Girls may have migraines that correlate with their menstrual period. Symptoms include pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea or vomiting.

Tension headaches

This is the most common type of headache. Stress or emotional conflict can trigger tension headaches, in which pain is dull or feels like a band around the head.

Cluster headaches

This type is more common in adolescent males and occurs in a series that can last weeks or months. Symptoms include severe on one side of the head, usually pain behind one eye, runny nose or a swollen forehead.

The goal of treatment is to stop headaches from recurring and to provide an appropriate treatment regimen to stop headaches as quickly as possible if they do happen. Depending on the type of headache, treatment may include:

  • Rest in a quiet, dark environment
  • Medications, as recommended by your child’s doctor
  • Stress management
  • Avoidance of known triggers, such as certain foods and beverages, lack of sleep and fasting
  • Diet changes
  • Exercise

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