Before we jump into this, we need to define “colic”. Colic is the condition in which otherwise healthy infants let you know they are in distress by crying. Colic is often defined by the 3X3 “rule”. If your infant cries for over 3 hours per day for 3 days out of the week for 3 weeks and is otherwise healthy, your baby fits the “colic” criteria. Colic usually goes away on its own.
Researchers have found a strong link between colic and childhood and adolescent migraine headaches. Indeed, colic may be a form of migraine but the brain and nervous system are not yet developed to the point that the predominant symptom is headache.
Mothers with migraine headaches have twice the number of colicky babies. And, for patients between the ages of 6 years old and 18 years old with migraine headache, over 75% of them had colic as infants. This does not hold true for tension headaches.
So if your child develops headaches, be sure and let the doctors know if there is a history of colic as an infant and it may lead more rapidly to the proper diagnosis.
This information comes from the Journal of the American Medical Association, April 17, 2013.
Louis Cataldie, MD