Although headaches are common in children, recurrent or frequent headaches that interfere with daily life are a concern. The Headache Program is a specialized clinic within the Division of Neurology that evaluates and treats more than 2,000 patients annually.
The clinic helps children and adolescents with chronic, debilitating head pain, headaches and migraines. We work to identify the cause and find an effective way to help children manage their headaches.
Headache Program at Children’s National and Pediatric Specialists of Virginia: Why Choose Us
Our nationally-recognized Headache Program, led by child neurologists Marc DiSabella, D.O., Raquel Landgon, M.D., Jeffrey Strelzik, M.D., and William McClintock, M.D., has extensive experience treating children of all ages with chronic headaches. We are one of the few pediatric hospitals in the country with behavioral medicine specialists involved in headache care. Together with our behavioral pain medicine psychologist, Angela Fletcher, Psy.D., we provide the most up-to-date therapies for your child.
At Children's National Hospital, we use a comprehensive and holistic approach to management, including lifestyle modification, behavioral strategies and advanced medications to alleviate your child's pain.
Members of our Headache Program team belong to the American Headache Society and work closely with the National Institutes of Health to meet the special needs of patients and their families with headache disorders.
Our internationally-renowned physicians are also active in research and clinical trials to locate factors influencing headaches in children and adolescents.
Urgent Headache Appointments
In an effort to improve access and ease of referral, the Headache Program has developed a centralized referral process for children with urgent headache needs. A dedicated program coordinator is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule urgent appointments. The program coordinator can be reached by calling 202-476-HEAD (4323) or by email.
An urgent appointment should be made if a child is experiencing the following:
- Headaches that are recurrent (more than four times per month) or are increasingly severe
- Headaches that have been present for over four weeks and are not responding to intervention
- Headaches resulting in missed school days
Urgent appointments are available at Children’s Outpatient Centers in Annapolis, Friendship Heights, Laurel, Montgomery County, Md., Pediatric Specialists of Virginia in Fairfax, Va., and the Children’s National Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine (main hospital) in downtown Washington, D.C.
Emergency Department referral is recommended for children with new onset of acute, severe headaches or new neurological deficits. For less severe or more intermittent headaches, please call the neurology appointment line at 202-476-3611 to schedule an appointment with one of our neurology care providers.
Interdisciplinary Intractable Headache Clinic
Children with headaches that are difficult to control will be referred by a Children’s National provider to our Interdisciplinary Intractable Headache Clinic. This clinic utilizes lifestyle modification and healthy habits, alternative medicine, pain-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, nerve blocks and infusions to provide additional treatment options for kids.