site logo

SICK HEADACHE. (Migraine. Hemicrania)

Categories: Diseases of The Nervous System

Migraine is a peculiar form of
severe paroxysms of unilateral (one side) headache often associated with

disorders of sight.

Causes. It is frequently hereditary, and it has occurred through several

generations. Women and members of nervous families are usually attacked.

Many of the headaches from eye-strain are of this type, It is often

inherited, and may last from puberty to the menopause. Some authors claim
that decay of the teeth without toothache will cause it. Adenoid growths

in the pharynx and particularly abnormal conditions of the nose will cause

it. Many of the attacks of severe headaches in children are of this

nature, and the eyes, nose and throat should be examined when children or

older persons suffer from this complaint. Mental emotion, physical or

mental fatigue, disorders of the female genital organs, eye-strain, etc.,

loud noises, toothache, act as predisposing causes. Some think it a

poisonous condition due to the absorption of poisons from the stomach and

intestines, and others regard it as a nervous condition due to anemia and

all conditions which weaken the resistance of the nervous system.

Symptoms. The premonitory symptoms, which may last a few hours or a day

or more, are sleepy feelings of discomfort, uneasiness, weariness, chills,

vertigo (dizziness), disturbance of the sight or disturbances of the

senses. The real attack may follow quickly, beginning with the

characteristic headache, at first one sided, located in one spot in the

temple, eye or back of the head, but spreading, as it increases in

severity, until it involves all of one side of the head and occasionally

both sides. The pain is usually constant and of great severity and it is

increased by motion, noises, light, or mental strain. The skin over the

painful part is very sensitive. There are loss of appetite, nausea and

vomiting. If the stomach has a great deal of food in it, vomiting relieves

the pain sometimes. In the spasmodic form the affected side is painful,

the skin is cool, the pupil is dilated, and the flow of saliva is

increased. In the paralytic form the affected side is flushed, hot, the

vessels are dilated and the pupils are contracted. There is great

weakness, prostration and depression. The urine may be abundant or

suppressed, temporarily. The results of treatment in this disease are

uncertain, as the attacks are likely to occur in spite of treatment. They

usually cease in old age, and in women they may stop after the menopause.

The attacks in women are likely to occur at or near the menstrual periods.