Tim Brunson DCH

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The Prognosis of Pediatric Headaches-A 30-Year Follow-up Study.



BACKGROUND: Although headaches in childhood are common, there are few data available on their long-term prognosis. We have monitored a group of patients since diagnosis in 1983. METHODS: Patients who were part of the 20-year follow-up study in 2003 were contacted, and data were collected using a standardized telephone interview. Details of headache characteristics and identified precipitants and alleviating factors were gathered. The most effective means of controlling the headaches were also recorded. RESULTS: Follow-up was achieved for 28 of 60 patients (47%). Over the 30 years since diagnosis, eight patients (29%) reported a complete resolution of headaches, including three whose headaches resolved between the 20- and 30-year follow-up studies. The type of headache varied over the 30-year time interval with only three patients maintaining the same headache type at all four time periods of 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013. Only one patient used prescription medication as the primary method for controlling headaches. The most commonly used intervention was nonprescription analgesia, self-relaxation and/or hypnosis, and precipitant avoidance. CONCLUSIONS: Headaches persist in approximately 70% of children 30 years after diagnosis. Encouraging children to manage their headaches with simple analgesia and precipitant avoidance appears to have long-term benefits.

Pediatr Neurol. 2014 Jul;51(1):85-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2014.02.022. Dooley JM(1), Augustine HF(2), Brna PM(2), Digby AM(2). Author information: (1)Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology Division, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Electronic address: jdooley@dal.ca. (2)Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology Division, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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