Most children who suffer chronic daily headaches may outgrow the disabling condition, a long-term study hints.
"Our results suggest there is hope for children who experience these headaches and for their parents, who also deal with the frustration and considerable disability that this condition can bring," Dr. Shuu-Jiun Wang, of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan, noted in a statement.
"Over time, most of these children get better, eventually having less frequent migraine headaches as young adults," Wang said.
Wang and colleagues followed 122 children in middle school with chronic daily headache between the ages of 12 and 14 years old. Chronic daily headache was defined as experiencing 15 or more "headache days" per month, with each headache lasting for two hours or longer.
They report in the journal Neurology that 60 percent of the children no longer had chronic daily headache after one year and 75 percent no longer had headaches after two years.
After eight years, only 12 percent of the 103 children tested still suffered chronic daily headache. However, 75 percent of the children periodically suffered migraine headache or "probable" migraine headache, while 11 percent became headache free after eight years.
"Parents and children," Wang said, "should be prepared for the possibility that while chronic daily headache may get better over time, headaches in general may never fully go away, but for most children the headaches are much less frequent when they become young adults."
The researchers are working to identify risk factors for chronic daily headache in adolescents.
"We are hoping to know if depression, headache diagnoses, family, environmental issues, or any other factors in early ages can result in chronic daily headache in adolescents later on," Wang told Reuters Health. "Then we can prevent this disabling disease in adolescents."