Myths in headache

Written by Dr. Ashok Jadon MD, FIPP

Headache is very common and all of us suffers from it at some time in our life. But if it is severe, if it is coming again & again, we are worried very much. Fortunately most headaches are not serious. But there are lots of myths regarding headache. Let us see what are common myths!

Myth-1: Sinusitis & headache together is common & it is most common cause of headache

Fact: Recurrent sinusitis may cause headache, but it is rare cause of headache. Commonest cause of headache is tension type headache and commonest cause of moderate to severe headache that brings a patient to a doctor is migraine. Sinusitis & headache may be seen together but sinusitis is not the cause of headache in most situation.

Myth-2: Eye power change is the common cause headache

Fact: Prolonged work in computer and eye strain may cause headache, but change of eye power is rare cause of headache.

Myth-3: There is a close association between high blood pressure and headache.

Fact: Hypertension is the rarest cause of headache.

Myth-4: Caffeine relieves headache.

Fact:  Caffeine causes dilation of the blood vessels; in acute headaches it helps in relieving pain but if taken in large doses or for recurrent headaches it makes the pain worst.

Myth-5: CT scan or MRI is needed to diagnose migraine.

Fact: CT or MRI cannot diagnose migraine. The diagnosis of migraine is clinical, according to the diagnostic criteria laid down by International Headache Society and all these are obtained from history of headache. However, CT scan or MRI at times done to rule out other possibilities.

Myth-6: There is no good treatment for migraine.

Fact: After having made a clinical diagnosis of migraine after taking a proper clinical history, there are lots of options for successful migraine treatment.

Myth-7: Migraine is more common in women

Fact: Before adolescence the incidence is equal among males and females. After adolescence 18 percent of women and 8 percent of men have migraines.23, 24

Myth-8: Migraines aren’t life-threatening

Fact: Complications of migraines may be serious. In rare cases, infarction can occur during migraine with aura.Research has confirmed links between migraine with stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.