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Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines??
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I am looking for some real world experience here not medical advice. My 5 y/o son has been getting migraines at night after swim lessons. Its hard to deal with watching him as they usually include puking and falling asleep. The doctors say it's normal and he will out grown them. We have been to several doctors including one that specializes in children and the head. They have run all the tests and concluded it's just normal and there is nothing serious to worry about. However, I have been considering pulling him out of swim lessons even though he likes going. Has anybody experienced this as a child? Did you out grow it? Any tips you learned that help along the way?

He does get them some other nights, non-swim days, but it seems the more active he is the more prone his is.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I can't say I have had experience with migraines or swimming as a kid. What I do have experience with is allergies from the chemicals etc. in the pool. I have to take nose spray and sometimes allergy meds or benadryl.

This made me think of my sister growing up - she had horrible migraines - lots of puking and suffering. Finally one day when my mom had her at an urgent care the doctor actually accused of my mom of neglect - that my sister had horrible allergies and was suffering unnecessarily. That was the first doctor to ever even mention it to her. Turns out she was very allergic to dust and dustmites, she started on allergy medicine and everything changed. I don't know why out primary care never caught it or put 2 and 2 together.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [jockette21] [ In reply to ]
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They did allergy tests. Whey is the only thing that came back as a minor allergy. Whey seems to be in everything so keeping a picky 5 y/o from eating it is difficult. He usual asks if food contains whey from friends and at school (cookies and snacks). I suppose they wouldn't check for pool chemicals and stuff but his Environmentals were clean. I believe the Environmentals included all the common local stuff like Trees, Grasses, Animals, etc. Me on the other hand, I am mildly allergic to everything but have never had a migraine.

I am hoping to hear some people saying they grew out of it and I should just trust the doctor. Keep him in swimming type stuff.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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Sounds like a mimic of the typical concussion - injury which causes dysfunction for blood flow basically in and out of the cranium (head).

5 is pretty young, I remember not being so robust at the age (I hated heat/hot sun for example)

So neck or shoulder strain anything that would point to inflammation around the neck region or increased temperature of the head, reducing blood flow.

During concussion injury I could increase blood flow by cooling or icing my head. The circulatory system responds by directing flow to maintain temperature. So you could try an ice pack right on top of the noggin'. I would start that first thing out of the pool.

My son trains without a cap, otherwise he overheats.

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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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timr wrote:
I am looking for some real world experience here not medical advice. My 5 y/o son has been getting migraines at night after swim lessons. Its hard to deal with watching him as they usually include puking and falling asleep. The doctors say it's normal and he will out grown them. We have been to several doctors including one that specializes in children and the head. They have run all the tests and concluded it's just normal and there is nothing serious to worry about. However, I have been considering pulling him out of swim lessons even though he likes going. Has anybody experienced this as a child? Did you out grow it? Any tips you learned that help along the way?

He does get them some other nights, non-swim days, but it seems the more active he is the more prone his is.

I would pull him out of the lessons if you find enough of a link between the migraine occurrences and swimming. Migraines like that are nothing to mess with and seem more a concern than not having swim lessons at 5yrs old. There are some studies indicating brain damage from migraines (white matter), although you know how that stuff goes, not always clear cut.

On somewhat related note, when I started pool training for the 2014 IMWI, after 45 minutes of swim I was having to get out of the pool, and run to the toilet to throw up. No headache but had dizziness and vomiting. The solution for me was to apply silicone ear putting plugs prior to each swim. Never had an issue after that. Must have been something with my inner ear and water entry. Another IM friend clued me into that fix because he had same issue.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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My wife has chronic migraines and it runs in her family. Our kids seem to have picked up that gene. I never had headache issues related to swimming.

The thought I had could it be related to pressure in his ears ? My son has chronic ear issues to the point we think he may be loosing hearing in one ear. He's 8 and has been on a team for the last 3 years. Each season he would get a nasty infection in one if not both ears. Related to the ear infections was headaches and when he got older and could explain the pain it started as pressure in his ears, followed by headache and then infection. Might be something to check out. Ear plugs and other tricks have helped with our son.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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He does go to the Chiropractor every 2 weeks for adjustments. That was one of the Doctors recommendations.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I agree with others on taking him out of swimming if there's a definite correlation. You could experiment with the variables - what if he swims in a lake instead of a pool?

Stupid question: goggles aren't too tight, are they?

Proud member of Fishtwitch and the ST Grammar Police
disclaimer: I am a PhD, not a medical doctor. The closest I get to surgery is topology.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [Dr. Tigerchik] [ In reply to ]
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He hasn't advanced to Goggles yet. It's his second year and a different school so he has to follow their schedule. We are going to talk with him about it and see what he wants to do. I will probably set up an appointment with his Dr as well and talk about the swimming variable. I would hate for him to lose out on something he likes when it's not related at all or could be controlled by some strange allergy. I was hoping this was as 'common' as the Dr said it was but nobody I have talked to about it has experienced it.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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Although I did not get migraines as a kid, and as I am an adult onset swimmer, I can only give you my experience as an adult. I have gotten migraines after swimming and I have linked them to being somewhat dehydrated. Please note, I do not feel thirsty, and the level of dehydration is not at all severe, but just very slight. I have really made an effort to drink more each day; I am prone to not drinking enough at all. I have been able to keep my migraines in check by making sure to drink water at each meal (which I didn't always do!) and to have a water bottle to sip from before and after swimming. Since you mention that your son gets migraines on other days when he's active, perhaps making sure that he is well hydrated might help. Best of luck!
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [dakg] [ In reply to ]
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I was a swimmer as a kid, and though I didn't get migraines then, I do now. I agree wholeheartedly with dakg, as my migraines seem to be caused by dehydration (always slight dehydration). Especially as a kid learning to swim, it's common to ingest a bunch of water, making your body think it isn't thirsty. But chlorinated water is definitely not hydrating! Sorry my experience is not an exact replication. Migraines are miserable and I'm sorry your son is suffering from them.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I swam as a kid, and no migranes. However, my brother who also swam, did used to get migranes. Because I was young, I don't remember how often or if they were after swimming. He did outgrow them.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [chamuco] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for hope.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [swim13] [ In reply to ]
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Great thought. I don't think he drinks enough at all.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [swim13] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for the thoughts. I am going to make sure he takes a water bottle. Makes sense.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I started swim training when I was 9-10 and remember quite well that I did have headaches. My dad, who was one of the better known swimmers in the country at the time thought that the intensity was too high for my age and/or fitness level and the coach thought it was the position of my head, upper back. So we reduced the intensity and worked on positioning. Headache went away. I don't remember how long did it take.

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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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At around the same age I had the same problem (not quite to the point of puking though). The migraines lasted for a couple of years, and then disappeared for good.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I've got it, my wife got it, my father had it and my mother used to have it and now my son with 15 started having it. We certainly are not swimmers. It is indeed hereditary.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [softrun] [ In reply to ]
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This is what I am hoping. We are keeping a lot of what he did, and ate etc., the day he gets migraines. Hopefully we can see a pattern and it's more of a dehydration thing. Maybe an intensity thing he will grow out of or he can be mindful of.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [MNMs] [ In reply to ]
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Did you ever find a trigger?
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [longtrousers] [ In reply to ]
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No family history of migraines on my side. We have 3 kids and he is only one getting them. Wifes mom said she gets them. You have to understand her mom though. She has/had every problem listed in Googles search engine so we took that with a grain of salt. Its definitely a possibility.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I remember getting some pretty bad headaches after swim training and swim meets as a kid (age 14-16-ish). I never knew quite what was causing it but at the time it seemed to be linked to the intensity of the effort in the pool. I would only get them if I was doing lots of sprint sets. Easier pace swimming didn't result in them. I also swam competitively from a very young age and only began to notice this as a teenager.

When I got into triathlon as an adult I haven't suffered from them, but I do much less all out sprinting in the pool now. But even pretty hard sets don't seem to result in headaches anymore.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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I am thinking it's caused by intensity and stress from being overly active. We are going to start by getting him a water bottle, maybe some electrolyte drink through out the day.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [timr] [ In reply to ]
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I would guess it could be more to do with O2 than fluids. I would get the headaches after lots if anaerobic activity which would likely mean less O2 to my brain. I would sometimes get the same headaches after doing 100m sprints on the track at the same age.

Maybe look into his breathing in the pool. Make sure he exhales with his head in the water and takes a full breath when he breathes in. I really think this is likely the issue.
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Re: Swimmers that swam as kids...Migraines?? [Kay Serrar] [ In reply to ]
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I am going to talk with him. He is a bright kid and if I tell him to be aware of his breathing and make sure he calms himself in between sets, he will do it. He doesn't drink a lot so I am going to give me a hydration bottle as well.
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