7 Soothing Remedies for Kids' Headaches
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7 Soothing Remedies for Kids' Headaches
"Instead of having headaches, I learned to feel my feelings. My feelings are
- Jones, age eight
Ten-year-old Ethan described his headaches as either "pounding cannonballs" on
the top of his head or "hummungous pliers" gripping his temples. He created a
character for them: a muscular hard-hat construction worker holding an enormous
drill in each hand, opening up the top of his head and drilling directly into
his brain. The intense pain made Ethan weep.
Headaches are the most common pain kids have and are often associated with high
levels of pressure and anxiety: 90 percent of all school age children get them,
while migraines affect 10 percent of kids - too many in my book. Both may be
caused my specific stressful events, but can be helped - often without
Pediatricians refer their patients with chronic headaches to me all the time.
My experience has shown me that a child's imagination can help unravel many of
the tangled nerves and tight muscles that result in headaches, and at the same
time, learn tension-taming skills that last a lifetime.
Positive images have a tremendous impact on pain when children are in a relaxed
state. Focusing on personal imageries can distract kids from discomfort and
allow them to let go of the tension in their head. It also gives kids a way to
explore and express the hidden feelings that cause stress. Although tools of
the imagination can be used on immediate pain, they work well between bouts of
distress as part of an overall prevention program.
Here seven headache-prevention tactics to try. They helped Ethan:
An ounce of prevention: If your child is prone to migraines, talk to him about
common triggers: chocolate, caffeine, cheese, and sugar; too little/too much
sleep; bright lights/loud noises; stress; anger or frustration; too much/too
little exercise; and barometric pressure changes. Knowing the triggers can help
The power behind the pill: Ask your child to describe how she imagines a
headache pain-reliever works. Ethan described his Tylenol as a S.W.A.T. team
that parachuted into his brain to rescue him. Perhaps your child can picture a
soothing scene to help her - with or without the actual pain medicine.
Create a headache journal: Have your child note the date, time, and level of
his headache when he feels pain, along with what he was feeling before the
headache started. Use the 0 to 10 scale (0 = no pain, 10 = the most). When kids
start to make the connection between frustration, say, and the onset of their
headaches, it spurs them to learn new coping techniques (e.g.: relaxing
breathing, meditation, drawing, dancing, something physical to release stress,
Ask three questions: When a child is suffering, these three questions can help
reduce or eliminate the pain. Have her do deep balloon breathing (breathing
slowly two to three inches below the navel), then ask: (1) What color is it?
(2) What shape is it? (3) How heavy is it? After three to five more slow deep
breaths, ask her again. Continue to breathe and question in rounds. Her pain
will likely diminish or disappear within five to ten minutes.
Read the rest of the tips in the Huffington Post HERE.
*Adapted from The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress
and Anxiety into Joy and Success.
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About Dr. Charlotte Reznick
Charlotte Reznick PhD specializes in helping children and adolescents develop
the emotional skills necessary for a happy and successful life. She is a
licensed educational psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of
Psychology at UCLA. Dr. Charlotte is the creator of Imagery For Kids^TM:
Breakthrough for Learning, Creativity, and Empowerment and is the author/
producer of several therapeutic CDs for children, teens, and parents. An
international workshop leader on the healing power of children's imagination,
she maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, California. Visit
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I'm passionate about helping kids develop self-love and learn self-healing
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