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Supporter's Corner >> Children and Cluster's >> Need some help for 5 year old
(Message started by: Kevins_Mom on Dec 26th, 2002, 11:34pm)

Title: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Kevins_Mom on Dec 26th, 2002, 11:34pm
Hi anyone who thinks they can help!  I have a 5 year old son who has suffered from headaches since he was three. It may have been earlier but he was a late talker and couldn't explain it until then. My pediatrician has sent him for MRIs, Cat scans and x-rays. They come back clean except for some possible minor sinus issues. In talking to a neurologist (whom I was seeing) he felt that Kevin was suffering from migraines. No meds were prescribed because of his age. I never brought him in for a visit as he didn't seem all that interested and I left feeling that I was overreacting. I have attempted to deal with them as migraines for the past 2 years. I recently saw a show on the medical channel regarding kids and headaches and was suprised to find out that I don't think he is suffering from migraines at all.  Kevin gets these headaches in "clusters". Which was so frustrating because I would think we finally got over them to get hit again at a later time.  He gets them 1-4 times a day for 1-3 weeks.  Then they they are gone.  They come on very quickly and leave very quickly. They last approx. 30 min to 3 hours. Light and noise do NOT seem to bother him. He rocks and moans, punches his head, bangs his head on the floor, cries over and over that it hurts. Sometimes he will curl up in a fetal position on the floor.  It chokes me up just write this. You can't imagine how hard it is to watch. I give him Motrin and Tylenol. Many times he will throw the medicine up about 10 minutes after I give it to him. (One of the reasons I thought it was migraine)  He began kindergarten this year and by the 2nd week I was getting calls from the nurse almost every day. (Fortunately, I am a special ed. teacher in the same school he attends, but eventually this will impact my job) Again the x-rays and cat scan. No answer. I took him to a chiroprator as a last resort.  He scanned him and his neck was a nightmare. Kevin was a forcep delivery and very rough one at that. It made sense that damage had been done.  He started sessions and the headaches immediately stopped. When the sessions were reduced they came back. It may all be coincidence.  I explained that this was typical the starting and stopping and maybe the chiropractic had nothing to do with it afterall. I am frustrated and emotionally drained. I have read many of the stories posted and have to admit I am more upset now thinking that this is going to get worse and Kevin is going to have to deal with this. I have just gone through my own medical battle for the past two years and am very frustrated with the way doctors just don't seem to want to listen. It seems that if the symptoms don't fit into their little text book of diagnoses then it just can't be so and I must be a nut. I am not anticipating doctors being all that helpful with this situation. So far they have been little help.  Would a neurologist be a place to start?  Are there moms or dads out there with young children? Is there medication that doen't have major side effects? Does anyone have any suggestions?  Am I even on the right track? Thanks for any help.

Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Ted on Dec 27th, 2002, 12:36am
With the neck being a "nightmare" I was wondering if you looked into the possibility of him possibly having cervicogenic headaches too. I hope it's not clusters your boy has.

Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Margi on Dec 27th, 2002, 9:22am
Hi Kevin's Mom - so sorry to hear that your little guy is going through this.  I know how hard it is to watch my husband 'do the dance' and be totally powerless to stop it, but I was blessed with a healthy child....I can't imagine the pain a mother goes thru...    :'(

By all means, get him in to a cluster knowledgeable neuro as fast as you can.  If you press the OUCH website button on the left, and then the first menu above the map, we have a list of Recommended Doctors there, organized by area.  these are doctors our people here have visited and we highly recommend them as being 'cluster savvy'.   If you need help getting him in to see a doctor, I am pretty good at writing nasty emails if you need help with that.  I'm at, if you want to talk off the board, as well.

As to meds side effects, please please PLEASE get your son some oxygen.  It's very benign but it has a real high abortive success rate for these attacks.  It will also work for migraines, if it turns out that that is what he has - although from your description, it does sound cluster-like. :(  

I echo Ted's hopes though - I hope these headaches he's having ARE related to a misaligned least there is treatment for that.  If not, however, know that we are here for you and wish you the best with your son.  Hang in there, mom.


Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Kevins_Mom on Dec 27th, 2002, 5:44pm
Ted & Marge,
Thanks for responding. I really appreciate it.  I am not familiar with cervico...(?) headaches. Sorry I forgot what you called them.  Kevin's neck was rescanned after 5 weeks and looked like night and day.  All severely "pinched" and irritated nerves came in within normal range.  His headaches stopped immediately upon starting the adjustments. However, he has been continuing with them and they are back.  Although they don't seem to be as bad. KNOCK ON WOOD. I have to say I am not a die-hard chiropractic fan. I have been that route before and did not find much success. I went into it apprehensively but was willing to try anything, especially since it was non-invasive and lacking Rx side effects Where do I get oxygen from, and do I use it during an attack? I read some of the other ideas in another posting; not sleeping under covers, keeping head away from head board, lowering the heat, etc. All may be contributors. He has woken up with them. I will definately check out your dr. site.  Although I like his doctors they just don't seem to be taking this seriously.  Thanks again.

Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Ted on Dec 27th, 2002, 6:01pm
The article's too long for one post so I'm doing it in two.


Physical Treatment of Cervicogenic Headache

By Nathan D. Zasler, MD

Cervicogenic headache is headache associated with nerve, muscle or bony structures of the neck (including the cervical spine) or the back of the head (the occipital region). It is diagnosed when there is pain localized to the neck and occipital region, which may project to the forehead, eyes, temples, top of the head, or ears. Pain is triggered or aggravated by specific neck movements or sustained neck posture. At least one of the following are present: (1) resistance to or limitation of passive neck movements; (2) changes in neck muscles, contour, texture, tone, or response to active and passive stretching and contraction; (3) abnormal tenderness of neck muscles. Neck discomfort alone is not diagnostic, since the neck may be painful during migraine or tension-type headache. X-rays may help identify specific underlying problems, such as abnormal neck posture or movement, fractures, bone tumors, or rheumatoid arthritis. Cervicogenic headache may result from trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, chronic postural irregularities, as well as normal aging, the latter due to arthritic changes in the neck.The term cervicogenic headache was coined some 20 years ago, but the idea that headache may be caused by disease of the cervical spine dates way back to the 1800s. The idea of headache related to the cervical spine remains somewhat controversial among many physicians. More controversial yet is the possible role of neck abnormalities in other headaches such as migraine. There have been a number of theories proposed as to how cervical spine disorders and/or dysfunction can cause headache. Cervicogenic headache may occur due to irritation or stimulation of pain-sensitive structures in the neck adjacent to nerve pathways that run from the cervical spine to the head. The pain thus originates in the neck but is referred along the nerve pathways to the head.Various physical rehabilitation approaches can be used to treat chronic cervicogenic neck pain and the associated headache.Trigger point injections may be utilized when there is pain coming from a hypersensitive "trigger point" in a muscle that refers into the head. Trigger points in the upper neck and shoulder may refer pain into the back of the head, behind the eye and into the same side frontal and temporal region. Trigger point therapy may involve dry needling (nothing is injected; the needle is inserted simply to "break up" abnormal bands of fibrous tissue at the trigger point) or injection therapy, the latter typically with local anesthetic and/or a steroid. Manual therapy is typically utilized to treat myofascial restrictions (abnormalities in muscle and its associated connective tissue) as well as joint dysfunctions.

Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by Ted on Dec 27th, 2002, 6:02pm
Muscle energy techniques (manipulation without thrust) can be quite beneficial in treating joint dysfunctions of the cervical spine, additionally providing the benefit of being less traumatic to the patient and less risky than thrust manipulation. Thrust manipulation, when performed correctly, generally is a safe technique and is used by chiropractors and appropriately trained physicians.Post-isometric muscle relaxation (PIMR) is very useful for treatment of shortened muscles and can be used to treat myofascial pain as well. Treatment involves active isometric contraction against the comfortable stretch barrier for a few seconds, followed by stretching of the muscle to its new barrier, and then repeating the process till full or optimal range of motion is achieved. PIMR is an excellent technique that can be taught to patients for self-treatment.Occipital nerve block may be helpful when there is irritation and dysfunction in specific branches of the occipital nerve on one or both sides of the neck. The occipital nerve provides sensation to the scalp in the back of the head. The nerve root found at the juncture of the head and neck will occasionally be damaged by direct trauma or entrapped in structures of the upper neck following whiplash type injuries. When irritation is more severe, shooting or stabbing pain can be referred to the same side of the head behind the eye or in the forehead. A nerve block is performed by carefully injecting a local anesthetic, or anesthetic in conjunction with a corticosteroid, for diagnostic and treatment purposes, respectively.Occipital rhizotomy is a more invasive procedure that generally is not necessary except in cases of treatment-resistant occipital nerve pain. It may be performed either surgically or with a cryoprobe (a technique involving freezing of the nerve).C2-C3 facet joint blockade is a procedure that is typically done by an interventional pain management specialist, either an anesthesiologist or a physiatrist or other appropriately trained clinician. The facet joint at a specific segment of the cervical spine (C2-C3) seems be particular vulnerable to neck trauma. The blockade is done using x-ray fluoroscopy with injection of local anesthetic.Cervical epidural steroid injections are also performed by interventional pain management specialists. They may be considered when the pain is unresponsive to conservative treatment but is believed to be responsive to steroids. Studies have confirmed the safety of this technique with symptomatic relief of a variety of painful conditions in the cervical spine. Cervical traction applies a stretch to muscles, ligaments, and tissue components of the cervical spine. It may provide relief by promoting separation of the space between the vertebrae which contains the disc and may thereby reduce a disc "bulge" or nerve impingement. Cervical traction is not indicated for use in conditions of cervical instability. Traction is optimal when the patient's neck is placed at 20-30 degrees of flexion (forward tilt). More invasive interventions requiring true surgical intervention include surgical fusion of the joints at the juncture of the head and neck in patients with arthritis producing cervicogenic headache. Treatment of cervicogenic headache, first and foremost, requires taking an adequate history and performing a good physical exam, including assessment of posture, body asymmetries, musculoskeletal evaluation, and neurologic screening evaluation. Treatment should be multimodal and may include various broad interventions, such as medications, injection therapies, physical therapy, TENS, traction, biofeedback, and surgical procedures. When there is long-standing pain, a referral to a pain behavioral specialist may also be indicated to assist the individual with pain adjustment and to teach pacing and relaxation techniques, among other interventions.--Nathan D. Zasler, MD. Medical Consultant, Pinnacle Rehabilitation, Inc. and Medical Director, Concussion Care Centre of Virginia, Ltd. Glen Allen, VA From Headache, The Newsletter of ACHE. Fall 2002, vol. 13, no. 3.      

Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by cathy on Dec 27th, 2002, 7:55pm

:'(  Hi Kevins mom, sorry to hear your son is experiencing such pain at such a young age, my husband is CH sufferer and I have twins of 5, watching my husband go through this terrible pain is hard enough, I can't imagine what your going through....just wanted you to know that my thoughts are with you and I pray to god you get the help you need.


Title: Re: Need some help for 5 year old
Post by someguy on Jan 13th, 2003, 1:54pm
Since this condition goes away and comes back on it's own (of course I'm not a doctor so I can't offer an opinion) there is no way you can know if what the guy is doing works or not.

Chiropractic has been around so long that people assume there is some validity to it.  But it's not really any better than going to see a witch doctor.  There is also significant risk of being injured by a chiropactor and occasionally people get a particular artery ripped in their neck when being violently adjusted, and they die.  Chiropractic is NOT SAFE and there is little evidence it ever does anything.  It's just the place people go when physicians fail them and they hope to find something else that does work.  But not only is it not worth the money, it can screw you up, and violently manipulating the nerves and fascia of someone who already has problems in that region seems like begging for trouble to me.

Anything that guy said about the "scan" looking better is like me saying I'm going to fix your car by fixing it's aura, waving my hands over the car and when you come back, sure enough, I tell you the aura is way better than before and I better keep waving my hands over it to keep the engine running right.    Only maybe beating it with a sledgehammer is a better analogy than waving my hands because thats more like what neck adjustments are.  

Here is some skeptical information about chiropractic from this page.


Chiropractic's uniqueness is not in its use of manipulation but in its theoretical basis for doing so -- which also explains why chiropractors overutilize spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), often applying it without justification.

Chiropractic is the brainchild of Daniel D. Palmer, a late-nineteenth century dabbler in metaphysical approaches to health care. Palmer had practiced phrenology and magnetic healing, and had some osteopathic training. He reported that a spiritualist medium inspired him in his search for "the single cause of all disease." He puzzled over the fact that pathogenic germs were found in both healthy and sick people and searched for an explanation. (Today, we know that the immune system makes the difference.) He claimed that in 1895 he restored the hearing of janitor Harvey Lillard and concluded that the spine was the key to health and disease.

Unique Theory

Palmer contrived the notion that "subluxations" of the spine impinge nerves, interfering with nerve flow, which he dubbed the Innate Life Force, and that all a practitioner had to do was to adjust the spine -- the healing powers of nature would do the rest. Neither Palmer nor any other chiropractor has ever been able to reliably demonstrate the existence of "subluxations," much less validate their importance to health and disease. Nevertheless, chiropractic has thrived and now has about 60,000 practitioners in the United States.

When chiropractors are challenged to explain precisely what effect nerve impingement is supposed to have upon a nerve impulse (i.e., frequency of propagation, amplitude, etc.), they either fall back upon metaphysical notions of the Innate Life Force or evoke one of many common ploys:

Make a virtue of their ignorance by retorting that they don't know how it works but that it does.

Claim that studies to determine the mechanism are now under way or just completed but unpublished (the "Oh, haven't you heard? You're behind the times!" ploy)

Change the official rhetoric by adding ambiguous language: "Pathological processes may be influenced by disturbances of the nervous system. . . . Disturbances of the nervous system may be the result of derangements of the musculoskeletal structure. Disturbances of the nervous system may cause or aggravate disease in various parts or functions of the body." [1] These three statements are true but do not support chiropractic's subluxation theory or the general notion that spinal problems are an underlying cause of disease.   They do this while continuing to practice as if subluxations were an established reality.


Anyway listen to these folks who know non-witch doctors you can get in contact with who might be able to diagnose and effectively treat your son.  Chiropractic is bad news. Message Board » Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.1!
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