Neurologists utilize a system to classify headaches known as the International Headache Society Criteria or I.H.S. Criteria. This system recognizes four primary headache types. The phrase, “primary headache type” means that the headache is not caused by some other disease process. Primary headache types include:
1. Migraine Headache
2. Tension Headache
3. Cluster Headache and Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania,
4. Other Headaches not otherwise explained
1. A migraine headache is a form of vascular headache. Migraine headache is caused by vasodilatation (enlargement of blood vessels) that causes the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around the large arteries of the brain.
2. It is a debilitating condition characterized by moderate to severe headaches, and nausea, about 3 times more common in women than in men. The typical migraine headache is unilateral pain (affecting one half of the head) and pulsating in nature, lasting from 4 to 72 hours.
3. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound), and is aggravated by routine activity. The severity of the pain, duration of the headache, and frequency of attacks is variable.
1. The classic tension type headache is the intermittent headache where you feel like your head is in a vice. It is also described as a band of pain around the head like a “headband”.
2. The pain should be even, NOT throbbing, NOT nauseating, and NOT causing excessive sensitivity to light or noise. It may interfere with your ability to function but not so bad that it prevents functioning—i.e., puts you to bed or is otherwise incapacitating.
1. A typical cluster headache will be described as an “ice-pick” type pain in the eye or just above one eye.
2. It is typically a relatively short headache.
3. Most patients would rather walk around during the headache than lie down.
4. They tend to occur at night and will wake patients from their sleep.
5. A cluster headache is sometimes associated with eye findings on the affected side with the pain. Eye findings may include redness, tearing, and pupil changes.
Risk Factors for Migraine Headache—lack of sleep, skipping meals, drinking alcohol, Excessive exercise or too little physical activity, stress, travel, smoking, overweight
Risk Factors for Tension Headache—Depression (in many people with chronic daily headache), anemia, anxiety, teeth clenching or grinding, insomnia, sleep apnea, arthritis in the neck, being overweight
Risk Factors for Cluster Headache– Cluster headaches seem to occur more often in heavy smokers, shift workers, and drinkers. Head injury increases the risk of cluster headache. Risk is greatest between 20-40 years old in men, whereas women have a later onset at age 60 and beyond. Males are at greater risk for cluster headaches than females—with a male to female ratio of 6:1.
The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Headache includes Thyroid function tests, CBC—for anemia, Head X-rays, CT, MRI scan, EEG, Angiogram, Eye exam.
Suppressing of natural urges, talking loudly, night arousal, indulging on more sex, exposure to cold, alcoholism, head injury, fasting, weeping, weight lifting, fear, anxiety causes the vitiation of vata dacha that propagates towards head and causes shirashoola.
Treatment principle includes Nidhana Parivarchana, Internal & external treatments – Abyanga, Snehapana, Upanaha, Lepa, Nasya, Dhoomapana, Shirovasti, Anuvasana vasti, Seka
1. Tremendous relief from headache and the associated symptoms (tracked in pain scale
2. Long lasting results
3. Very less chances of recurrence
*Outcome may vary from patient to patient