June 11, 2007

Chronic Headache

Those unfortunate to suffer from chronic headache present quite a quandary to neurologists. However, the physician can go home without persistent pain in his head. Some of these patients are curable, but many of them will not respond to therapy. This proves as frustrating to the patient as to the doctor.

A Head Case by Michael J. Nelson in the June 10, 2007 New York Times offers a brief account of one patient's (the author's) experience with chronic headache. He tries a number of medications without any relief of the headache that has plagued him for twenty years; he does experience unsettling side effects. In an act of desparation he tries novicaine scalp injections which leave him with worse pain.

This account is matched by many similar experiences of chronic headache patients. Careful, almost algorithmic approaches by enthusiastic headache specialists can yield results, but chronic pain is chronic for a reason.

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