Pediatric Neurology

Pediatric Headache & Pain Program

Specialized Care for Headaches

Headaches in children are quite common. If your child occasionally experiences mild headaches, your pediatrician should be able to manage the problem. But if the headaches are more frequent, impact day-to-day activities and don't respond to over-the-counter medications, it may be time to see a pediatric headache specialist.

The Headache & Pain Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston helps patients as young as two years old to overcome their headache pain and enjoy life once again. We take the time to explore possible sources for your child's headaches and then work with you and your child to develop an effective treatment plan.

Our team understands how troubling pediatric headaches can be for a parent. So we offer not only expert care, but also a welcoming, unhurried setting that puts families at ease. Here, you and your child will be in good hands.

Why Is My Child Having Headache Pain?

It's important to know that most headaches are "primary" headaches. That means the headache is not a symptom of another illness. In children, primary headaches typically fall into one of two categories: tension headaches or migraine headaches.

In contrast, secondary headaches are caused by an underlying health problem. There is a wide range of possibilities, from diet, obesity or hormonal imbalance to stress, sleep disorders or brain lesions.

At your first visit to our clinic, our team conducts a thorough diagnostic assessment of your child. We ask questions about his or her medical history, home and school life, social activities and more. On occasion, we order imaging tests to evaluate possible neurological problems.

In some cases, as with migraines, it's clear why a child is experiencing headache pain. In other cases, we need to do more digging. The key to eliminating headache symptoms is identifying and addressing the root cause — and that's where our team excels.

Our approach to treating pediatric primary headaches depends primarily on severity and frequency of pain along with how much the pain affects everyday activities. Treatment can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Dietary and lifestyle changes (an approach we use for most patients, even if we go on to further treatments)
  • Prescription or over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements
  • Counseling and related services to address emotional or social struggles
  • Complementary/alternative therapies, such as yoga, meditation or physical therapy

As appropriate, we can collaborate with Tufts Medical Center pediatric experts in areas such as Neuro-Oncology, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Rheumatology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to manage your child's care.

The Headache & Pain Program is headquartered at Tufts Medical Center's downtown Boston campus. For your family's convenience, we also see patients at outpatient satellite clinics throughout Greater Boston.