Centers of Excellence

Headaches in Children - Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Headaches in kids are very common. Thousands of children have recurring headaches that restrict their learning and other activities. Dr. Marcy Yonker and Dr. Kara Lewis specialize in finding out the true cause and the best treatment for children experiencing headaches, at our pediatric-dedicated headache clinic.

Our headache specialists at Phoenix Children's are two of only a few pediatric specialists nationwide, serving Arizona and the Southwest.

Up to 90 percent of school-age children report having headache pain.  The most common disorder is migraine. Many children experience ongoing or recurring symptoms (chronic headaches/migraines).

Drs. Yonker and Lewis, and their medical team in the Headache Clinic do a comprehensive evaluation to figure out the source of the child's headache and find the best treatment to help kids return to their normal lives.


Common causes of headaches

Common causes of headaches in children include:

  • Family history of headaches
  • Certain foods, drinks, and additives
  • Head injuries including concussions
  • Emotional triggers such as stress and anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Illness and infections such as cold, flu, and strep throat
  • Sleep patterns

Treatment for headaches in children

After diagnosing the cause of the headache, specific treatments plans for each child are executed.

Often, preventing serious headaches and migraines begins with improving diet, sleep, and hygiene, and avoiding triggers; however, these changes do not always eliminate the pain. Medications can also play an important role in reducing headaches and uncomfortable symptoms.

The Headache Clinic is part of the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, one of the Centers of Excellence at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Drs. Yonker and Lewis collaborate on-site with a team of specialists to create treatment plans that address all of the child's physical and emotional needs.

Some related specialists include our pediatric:

  • Neurologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Radiologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Sports medicine specialists (concussions)

Why a children's hospital?

It can be difficult for young patients to describe their symptoms. We use unique methods, such as a pain color chart and age specific language to communicate effectively with kids of all ages.

And when your child is treated at Phoenix Children's, they'll have better experiences and outcomes than at an adult facility. The hospital was designed by children, for children, the staff is specially trained to meet the unique needs of growing children, and we offer specialty clinical care, all in one place.

To find out more, or to request an appointment, call (602) 933-0970.

Health education

About migraine headaches (PDF) 

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