Causes of recurrent/chronic headache in adolescents presenting in opd

Roy Ashish Kumar and Prasad Tulsi

Introduction: Headache is widely prevalent in adolescents. Migraine and tension headaches are supposed to be the commonest causes. Little work has been done in this space for the Indian adolescent child.

Objective: To study the causes of headache in adolescents presenting in the OPD.

Materials and Method: This study was conducted in the OPD of Tata Central Hospital, West Bokaro, Jharkhand. The children came from the town of West Bokaro and also from the adjoining suburbs. Headache registry was maintained from November, 2013.
Adolescents (10 to 16), (n: 155) with headache more than a month as the chief complaint were included. Children with features of overt URI, fever, H/O seizures were excluded from the study.

A working diagnosis was arrived at with history and physical examination. Refractory errors were checked for and ENT examination was done.

Observation: Tension headache was the commonest cause of headache (n: 57) followed by migraine
(n: 39). Sinusitis, refractory errors and depression were other causes. There was a female preponderance in the group (F 115, M 40). In 29 cases, no clear diagnosis could be arrived at. Although these children were followed up for 12-24 months and 23 went for CT scan, not a single SOL was detected.

Conclusion: Tension headache and migraine are the common causes of chronic and recurrent headache in adolescents.

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