Association between childhood migraine and history of infantile colic

JAMA. 2013 Apr 17;309(15):1607-12. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.747.


Importance: Infantile colic is a common cause of inconsolable crying during the first months of life and has been thought to be a pain syndrome. Migraine is a common cause of headache pain in childhood. Whether there is an association between these 2 types of pain in unknown.

Objective: To investigate a possible association between infantile colic and migraines in childhood.

Design, setting, and participants: A case-control study of 208 consecutive children aged 6 to 18 years presenting to the emergency department and diagnosed as having migraines in 3 European tertiary care hospitals between April 2012 and June 2012. The control group was composed of 471 children in the same age range who visited the emergency department of each participating center for minor trauma during the same period. A structured questionnaire identified personal history of infantile colic for case and control participants, confirmed by health booklets. A second study of 120 children diagnosed with tension-type headaches was done to test the specificity of the association.

Main outcomes and measures: Difference in the prevalence of infantile colic between children with and without a diagnosis of migraine.

Results: Children with migraine were more likely to have experienced infantile colic than those without migraine (72.6% vs 26.5%; odds ratio [OR], 6.61 [95% CI, 4.38-10.00]; P < .001), either migraine without aura (n = 142; 73.9% vs 26.5%; OR, 7.01 [95% CI, 4.43-11.09]; P < .001), or migraine with aura (n = 66; 69.7% vs 26.5%; OR, 5.73 [95% CI, 3.07-10.73]; P < .001). This association was not found for children with tension-type headache (35% vs 26.5%; OR, 1.46 [95% CI, 0.92-2.32]; P = .10).

Conclusion and relevance: The presence of migraine in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years was associated with a history of infantile colic. Additional longitudinal studies are required.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Colic / epidemiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk