The headache problem with its debilitation and pain has been noted throughout medical history. It is one of the most common outpatient complaints and affects more than 45 million Americans. The lost days to work and family and the immeasurable suffering of patients can be lessened with the understanding and knowledge of a caring physician. Osteopathic physicians with expertise in holistic and musculoskeletal concepts are particularly well prepared to help. The establishment of an accurate diagnosis through a careful history and physical examination is essential before the physician can develop an effective treatment plan. Treatment can be abortive, prophylactic, or symptomatic, or a combination. Abortive treatment is geared to reverse the headache once begun; prophylactic treatment usually involves the use of daily medications to prevent, decrease frequency, or lessen severity of attacks; and symptomatic treatment is for relief of pain or accompanying symptoms. Most headaches experienced are of the tension type, whereas most debilitating headaches are of the migraine type. Cluster headache, though experienced by a small percentage of sufferers, is especially severe, and is useful in differential diagnosis. (+info)
Application of ICHD 2nd edition criteria for primary headaches with the aid of a computerised, structured medical record for the specialist.
We tested the computerised, structured medical record by entering and analysing the consecutive clinical sheets of primary headaches in the episodic forms (200) and chronic headache (200) and the corresponding output diagnoses of patients attending our Headache Centre. A diagnosis of one of the primary headache forms was obtained in 67.9% of cases. A certain diagnosis of primary headache plus that of a probable form was obtained in 24.4% of cases (12.7% represented by chronic migraine (CM) or chronic tension-type headache (CTTH)+probable medication overuse headache). Only probable forms were diagnosed in the remaining 7.3% (as single probable diagnosis in 5.8% of cases or multiple diagnoses of probable forms in the remaining ones). The percentage of certain diagnoses mainly in the chronic headache group (28.4%), and to a lesser extent tension-type headache (6.5%), were obtained in 34.9% of cases. A certain diagnosis of one chronic form plus that of a probable form was obtained in 50.8% of cases (26.9% represented by probable medication-overuse headache). Only probable forms were diagnosed in 13.46% (as single probable diagnosis in 8.73% of cases or multiple diagnoses of probable forms in the remaining ones). In the other cases, the ICHD-II classification does not allow the diagnoses of CM, CTTH or probable forms and medication overuse headache because the mandatory criteria for the diagnoses are too stringent and do not reflect modifications of the headache pattern in relation to its chronicity. These preliminary results underscore the usefulness of a computerised device based on the ICHD 2nd edition for diagnostic purposes in tertiary centres dedicated to headaches in clinical practice as well as its relevance for research. This computerised device may help to validate the new diagnostic criteria and to answer some emerging questions from the application of the new classification version, the relevance of which should be verified in clinical practice. (+info)
Osmophobia in primary headaches.
This study evaluates osmophobia (defined as an unpleasant perception, during a headache attack, of odours that are non-aversive or even pleasurable outside the attacks) in connection with the diagnosis of primary headaches. We recruited 775 patients from our Headache Centre (566 females, 209 males; age 38+/-12 years), of whom 477 were migraineurs without aura (MO), 92 with aura (MA), 135 had episodic tension-type headache (ETTH), 44 episodic cluster headache (ECH), 2 chronic paroxysmal hemicrania (CPH) and 25 other primary headaches (OPHs: 12 primary stabbing headaches, 2 primary cough headaches, 3 primary exertional headaches, 2 primary headaches associated with sexual activity, 3 hypnic headaches, 2 primary thunderclap headaches and 1 hemicrania continua). Among them, 43% with MO (205/477), 39% with MA (36/92), and 7% with CH (3/44) reported osmophobia during the attacks; none of the 135 ETTH and 25 OPH patients suffered this symptom. We conclude that osmophobia is a very specific marker to discriminate adequately between migraine (MO and MA) and ETTH; moreover, from this limited series it seems to be a good discriminant also for OPHs, and for CH patients not sharing neurovegetative symptoms with migraine. Therefore, osmophobia should be considered a good candidate as a new criterion for the diagnosis of migraine. (+info)
Attachment styles and headache.
The internal working model on attachment dimensions changes with significant emotional experiences. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if and how the internal working models correlate with primary headaches. Attachment dimensions of subjects suffering from primary headaches were studied. One hundred and fourteen subjects [68 with migraine, 23 with tension-type headache (according to ICHD-I criteria), 23 with chronic daily headache (according to Silberstein's criteria)], were studied and compared with a control group of 57 subjects (matched in sex, age and social level) not suffering from any primary headache. Attachment dimensions were investigated using the Adult Attachment Questionnaire (AAQ) and the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ). Headache sufferers seem to be characterised by attachment styles of the "insecure" type. In particular they seem to feel extremely ill at ease if there is an expectation of reduction of interpersonal distance. (+info)
Primary headache in Emergency Department: prevalence, clinical features and therapeutical approach.
Headache is one of the most common reported complaints in the general adult population and it accounts for between 1% and 3% of admissions to an Emergency Department (ED). The overwhelming majority of patients who present to an ED with acute primary headache (PH) have migraine and very few of them receive a specific diagnosis and then an appropriate treatment. This is due, in part, to a low likelihood of emergency physicians diagnosing the type of PH, in turn due to lack of knowledge of the IHS criteria, and also the clinical condition of the patients (pain, border type of headache, etc.) In agreement with the literature, another interesting aspect of data emerging from our experience is that few of the ED PH patients are referred to headache clinics for diagnosis and treatment, especially if they present with high levels of disability. This attitude promotes the high-cost phenomenon of repeater patients that have already been admitted to the ED for the same reason in the past. This is statistically important because it involves about 10% of the population with PH. (+info)
Nontraumatic headache in the Emergency Department: a survey in the province of Trieste.
The objective was to study the demographics, diagnostic procedures and therapies employed in order to provide guidelines to Emergency Department (ED) physicians. A six-month retrospective analysis of the records of all patients presenting with nontraumatic headache (NTH) to the EDs of the Province of Trieste was performed. Of 38,238 patients screened, 300 (0.8%) presented with NTH and 49.7% were referred to specialists. Patients were classified as having secondary headache (41.3%), primary headache (24.3%) and headache with no obvious source (NOS) (34.4%). One hundred and seventy patients were treated with mono- or polytherapy. Of 50 patients with migraine, 36 were treated with NSAIDs and 4 with triptans. 68.4% of patients were referred to a general practitioner and 31.6% were admitted. The frequency of NTH was lower than in other studies. NOS headache was frequent. Only 10% of migraineurs received triptans. Diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines for ED physicians are needed. (+info)
Prevalence of patent foramen ovale in a large series of patients with migraine with aura, migraine without aura and cluster headache, and relationship with clinical phenotype.
A relationship between migraine and patent foramen ovale (PFO) has been observed in relatively small series of patients so far. Furthermore, the exact mechanism underlying such an association remains unknown. In the present study we determined the prevalence of PFO by contrast-enhanced transcranial Doppler (TCD) in a group of 260 patients with migraine with aura (MA+), 74 patients with migraine without aura (MA-), and 38 patients with cluster headache (CH). One-hundred-sixty-one MA+subjects (61.9%), 12 MA-subjects (16.2%), and 14 CH-subjects (36.8%) were PFO-carriers. The association was independent on the frequency of migraine attacks and complexity of aura. Finally, among the 15 patients who had a history of at least one migraine attack occurring during a Valsalva maneuver only one subject turned out to be PFO-carrier. Our findings confirm previous observations of a link between MA+, CH, and PFO. They also suggest that such an association is independent on migraine clinical phenotype and is probably unrelated to the pathogenic mechanism of paradoxical embolism. (+info)
Psychiatric comorbidity and chronicisation in primary headache.
The frequent association between primary headaches and psychiatric disorders is consistently reported in the literature. There is increasing evidence that a bi-directional relationship links these somatic conditions to psychopathological events. Prospective studies show that several psychiatric disorders are severe risk factors for both the onset and chronicisation of primary headache, and for a long time it has been suspected that headache triggers psychiatric disorders, mostly of affective nature, and affects both their course and outcome. Researchers are actively involved in investigating the biological basis of such a relationship while clinicians still need to strengthen their interest in psychiatric comorbidity of their primary headache patients to improve clinical outcome and to prevent chronic evolutions. (+info)