Home 9 Conditions Treated 9 Abdominal Migraine

Abdominal Migraine

About Abdominal Migraines

What Is An Abdominal Migraine?

Abdominal migraine is a unique form of migraine that primarily affects children but can also occur in adults. It is characterised by recurring episodes of abdominal pain or discomfort, often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, without the presence of a headache.

Abdominal migraine is a subtype of migraine that primarily manifests as recurrent episodes of moderate to severe abdominal pain or discomfort. The pain is usually located around the navel and can be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Unlike other forms of migraine, they do not typically involve a headache or head pain.

Abdominal Migraine Diagnosis

How Do We Diagnose An Abdominal Migraine?

Diagnosing abdominal migraine can be challenging due to its unique presentation and the absence of a headache. It can be challenging due to its atypical presentation and the absence of a clear diagnostic test. However, through a thorough evaluation of symptoms and exclusion of other possible causes, healthcare professionals can reach a diagnosis. They are often seen in individuals with a family history of migraines or other migraine variants.

Abdominal Migraine Symptoms

Abdominal Pain

Moderate to severe,centred around the navel

Nausea / Vomiting

Loss of appetiteDiarrhea or constipation

Absence of headache

Typically no head pain present

Treating Abdominal Migraines With The Watson Headache® Approach

Abdominal Migraine Treatment

Identifying triggers and implementing lifestyle changes can help manage abdominal migraine. These changes are consistent with all the same interventions suggested for standard migraine presentations. The underlying driver of migraine (brainstem sensitivity) is the same for all migraine presentations, so they will respond to similar interventions such as dietary changes, sleep improvements, exercise and upper neck treatment.The upper neck has direct connections with the control centre for nausea and vomiting which sits in the brainstem. This is why treatment of the upper neck can be particularly effective in changing abdominal migraine symptoms.Sydney Headache and Migraine Centre uses the Watson Headache® Approach which focuses on addressing the underlying mechanical dysfunctions in the upper neck that can be dialling up sensitivity in the brainstem, causing abdominal migraine. Skilled physiotherapists trained in the Watson Headache® Approach utilise specific manual techniques to assess and treat dysfunctions in the cervical spine and related structures. These techniques aim to restore normal movement and reduce the sensitisation of the nervous system, potentially providing relief from abdominal symptoms.In some cases, medications may be prescribed to alleviate the abdominal symptoms This may include medications commonly used for migraines, such as triptans or certain preventive medications. 
For further reading on managing Abdominal Migraine, read our blogs on Understanding TriggersDiet,  and Sleep Hygiene.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Headaches after exercise

Headaches after exercise

  Dealing with Headaches After Exercise: Causes and Remedies Exercise is universally acknowledged as a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you're hitting the gym, jogging through the...

read more