"Yo manche lai herne bittikai tauko dukhcha" (this person is a headache), is a common and colloquial line used to express one's dislike for some people. Headaches can be a symptom of different conditions, but some common types are tension headache, migraine, temporal arteritis, meningitis and raise intracranial pressure.
Migraine is typically characterised by a unilateral and "episodic" headache, which is often associated with nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. The headache is usually localised to the frontal region and spreads to one side of the head. The pain is severe and throbbing and may compel a patient to prefer dim light to take rest
Custom usually restricts the term 'headache' to describe pain in the region of the skull cavity, while the pain below it may be classified as facial pain. Although the demarcation is often vague, headaches and facial pains are considered separately.
In medical parlance, a headache is one of the most common and difficult clinical problems. Mostly the cause is trivial and reversible, and a careful check-up often allows a specific diagnosis.
A headache may be a symptom of serious intracranial disease, but the clinical features of raised intracranial pressure, or meningitis, can usually be distinguished from other common headaches.
It can be due to problems in nearby structures such as the eye and ear causing referred headache, meningeal irritation, vascular disturbance, traction and distortion of intracranial parts or psychogenic factors.
Migraine is typically characterised by a unilateral and "episodic" headache, which is often associated with nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.
The headache is usually localised to the frontal region and spreads to one side of the head. In many patients, it may be bitemporal, generalised and without visual or neurological disturbances.
The pain is severe and throbbing and may be associated with vomiting, photophobia, pale skin and prostration, which compels a patient to prefer dim light to take rest.
It usually starts after puberty and continues until late middle life. Attacks occur at intervals of a few days to several months, which may last for an hour to days. Symptoms like zig-zag lines, flashes of coloured lights or defects in the vision (like double vision), loss of appetite, hemiparesis (a type of paralysis) or numbness may be associated with the headache.
Some principal forms of migraine are: Classical - with visual or sensory symptoms like numbness; common - with nausea, vomiting and photophobia; hemiplegic - prolonged headache followed by hemiparesis (inability to move on one side of the body) which recovers slowly in due course; basilar – headache at the back of the head with vertigo, double vision, slurred speech, visual and sensory symptoms.
Decrease in cerebral blood flow, dilatation of extracranial arteries at the onset of an attack and relative decrease in blood circulation in the body result in focal disturbances.
Approximately half of the migraine patients are seen to have genetic tendency.
Anxiety, stress, menstrual periods, oral contraceptive pills and dietary factors like chocolate, cheese and alcohol are seen to initiate or aggravate the attack.
Tension headache is the most common form of headache, which is usually constant.
The pain is a dull, tight, sensation around the head or at the vertex. In contrast to migraine, it could be uninterrupted for weeks or months, without associated vomiting or photophobia.
The patient can usually continue with normal activities or it may remain less noticed when occupied, and this can be distinguished from trigeminal neuralgia where the acute pain is precipitated by even skin touch.
Stress, anxiety or underlying depression are common precipitants of this illness. The patient becomes convinced of a serious underlying condition.
A detailed history, careful explanation of symptoms and likely precipitants of the disease not only ease in the diagnosis but along with reassurance and counselling, they are likely to be more beneficial than the analgesics.
Homeopathic treatment of the underlying anxiety, stress and depression successfully removes the symptoms with ultimate cure of the disease without precipitating any discomfort or side effects.
Benign intracranial hypertension is a rare condition, usually found in obese young women, where the intracranial pressure rises without any tumour or swelling.
Here papilloedema, or optic disc swelling, may threaten the vision too, which may need immediate medical attention. The cause is uncertain, but it can be improved, controlled and cured by homeopathic treatment and diet.
Facial pain like trigeminal neuralgia, migrainous neuralgia, atypical facial pain and temporomandibular arthritis pose a challenge in treating the illnesses, but they are curable by homeopathy.
In majority of the headache cases no specific investigation is necessary.
Skull x-ray, CT scan / MRI, ESR and serology may be required, but they are of rare and little importance.
Modern drugs for headaches, including migraine and facial pain, may have plenty of side effects like nausea and vomiting, vasospasm or narrowing of the arteries, which paradoxically causes headache, contraindication (stopping a certain treatment) in pregnancy, heart disease caused by restriction in blood supply and peripheral vascular disease, blocking activity, retroperitoneal fibrosis and adverse effects in renal function.
As a homeopathic physician, I must mention that homeopathic treatment of such diseases is not only safe, total cure can even be achieved over a certain period of treatment without any residual side-effect.
The right homeopathic medicine favourably effects the mental, emotional and physical levels. Unlike modern drugs, during the course of this treatment, the patient notices a feeling of well-being without any feeling of uneasiness.
In conclusion, this is my open invitation to every sufferer of such a condition to put themselves under homeopathic therapy.
Given my long experience and belief, you will not be disappointed in leaving the annoying "migraine".
A version of this article appears in the print on April 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.