It is not very surprising that school causes headaches. In fact, increased headaches at back-to-school time are a clear trend. Lead researcher Ann Pakalnis and a team of physicians at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that more children had headaches in the fall, possibly because of changes in stress and changes in routines.
The study, which observed 1,300 emergency department visits between 2010 and 2014, looked at visits from children aged five to 18. The physicians who conducted the study found a significant increase in headaches for children in the fall.
For their study, the physicians mostly considered two kinds of headaches: migraines and tension headaches. Migraines generally cause more pain than tension headaches, and also involves nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. In contrast, even with the discomfort of tension headaches, children can usually continue with their day. Both kinds of headaches increased as back-to-school time approached.
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Based on previous research, physicians suggested that lifestyle factors like academic stress, lack of sleep, skipping meals, dehydration, too much caffeine, a decrease in exercise and an increase in electronic screen time might be responsible for the increase in headaches. Consequently, minimizing stresses and taking particular care to manage health at back-to-school time, or any other time, can help reduce the frequency of headaches.
To reduce the chances of headaches during the school year, try eating three meals a day, staying hydrated, sleeping soundly through the night rather than napping, and avoiding high-stress situations as much as possible. If that doesn’t work, pain medication in small doses can also improve headaches.
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