For children with headaches, the number one thing I would look for is food allergies. Your child's recurrent sinus congestion and ear infections also point to food allergies. The most common offenders are sugar, milk, wheat, corn and soy. These allergies can be detected through specialized testing including blood tests and electro-diagnosis. These can be obtained from a physician practising natural medicine. Conventional allergy tests from an allergist are not useful.
You can also determine allergies through a food elimination diet described well in Dr. William Crook's Book, Detecting Your Hidden Allergies (Professional Books, 1988). Dr. Zoltan Rona 's book, Childhood Illness And The Allergy Connection (Prima, 1997), is also recommended. Environmental allergies such as to dust and mould may also have to be checked.
Recurrent sinus and ear infections are very significant. Repeated courses of antibiotics cause the child's whole system to go out of balance. In particular, antibiotics wipe out the friendly bacteria in the gut and cause an overgrowth of yeast which can then cause digestive problems, fatigue and headaches.
Your son should be treated by replacing the friendly bacteria by taking acidophilus capsules specific for his age, dietary changes (especially eliminating sugar and dairy), and taking natural anti-yeast remedies like garlic or caprylic acid. The Complete Candida Guidebook by Jeanne Marie Martin and Zoltan Rona (Prima, 1996) gives specific diets designed for children and reviews many different types of natural treatments.
It may be important to consult with a chiropractic doctor to check your son's spinal alignment, especially if he has had any injury or fall. Cranial-sacral therapy to gently adjust the cranial bones and spine is also worthwhile, especially if your son experienced birth trauma.
Acupuncture can also play an important role in migraine treatment and prevention. A small acupuncture machine can be rented or purchased for pain relief at home. One well designed machine with phone support can be purchased through Acumed at 1-800-567-PAIN or 416-252-6060.
The herb feverfew has been shown in many studies to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It will not help a headache once it is started.
Once the headache has started, you can try hot castor oil packs, ice packs, extra Vitamin-C and bioflavonoids, extra calcium and magnesium, ginger capsules and white willow bark. Aspirin is derived from white willow bark, but the natural product is milder and has fewer side effects.
In addition your child should be taking daily a high quality multi-mineral vitamin, cod liver oil, and extra zinc, vitamin-C and bioflavonoids.
Treatment of migraines in children does require a multi-pronged approach, time and effort but the effects are so worthwhile. Children usually respond faster to natural treatments and also will have the benefit of good health habits begun early.
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