Chapter 4

MAINTAINING THE MEDICAL MYSTERY

So the question remains, what really causes tension headaches and common migraines? Officially, medicine says it's not yet completely understood. The International Headache Society lists dozens of classifications for headaches and migraines. No study exists to clearly indicate a simple cause of recurring tension headaches or common migraines, so medicine can't provide a means of prevention (just new drugs to treat the pain).   In fact, IHS recently changed the name of "muscle-contraction" and "tension" headache to "tension-type" headache. They point to research that shows no increased muscle activity during a headache compared to activity during a normal resting state; therefore, the term "tension-type" is used to describe a headache that seems to be like that of muscle contraction.

The practitioner's area of health care usually dictates what he or she believes. The neurologist believes that the central nervous system is somehow responsible. Several different medications are prescribed until an acceptable result is achieved (if ever).

Treatment rarely "cures" the headaches, but rather relieves the pain soon after onset. The internist or neurologist may prescribe medications intended to prevent muscular spasm within blood vessel walls that are located within the skull or in the brain. The ear, nose and throat doctor (E.N.T.) may perform sinus surgery. The dentist makes a "splint". The chiropractor repeatedly adjusts the curvature of the neck vertebrae, hoping to prevent further attacks, only to have the patient return with a headache a week later or sooner.

Unfortunately for the daily headache and common migraine sufferer, no one has had an answer. We learn to accept and cope with headaches as a part of our normal daily life. We're told it's just stress, or our sinuses, or some lingering effect of an accident we had years ago. Ultimately, we no longer discuss our headaches. No one wants to hear about them anyway. Since we always seem to have a headache, we might as well gut it out and live with it.

In fact, most chronic headache sufferers soon learn to rationalize any discomfort they have above the neck, and must accept that a having head pain is somehow normal.. I performed a casual survey of chronic headache suffers on the alt.support.headaches.migraine group on the internet.  Of the 32 respondents, 100% admitted that at least 3 times per week they awaken with some degree of headache (98% awaken with a headache more than half the time, and 60% awaken every day with some degree of headache).

NOT ME, NOT ANY MORE.

"I've had daily headaches all of my life. I've gone the route of neurologists, chiropractors, allergists, dentists, herbalists, acupuncture, physical therapy, bio-feedback and massage therapy with no lasting results. But now, no longer do I need to decline an invitation because I have a headache! It seems so strange to wake up headache free. I can get on with my life!"Marilyn Wasemiller, Dearborn, MI

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