Make your own free website on Tripod.com

History

 

The history of man's suffering from headache dates back to 9000 years ago when basic drastic therapy of that time was trepanation (1). Headache with neuralgia was recorded in the medical documents of the ancient Egyptians as early as 1200 BC. (2)

In 400 BC Hippocrates described the visual aura that can precede the migraine headache, and the relief that can be induced by vomiting. Aretaeus of Cappadocia (3) is credited as the discoverer of migraine because of his classic description of the symptoms of a unilateral headache associated with vomiting with headache free intervals in between attacks in the 2nd century. (4)

 

        Galenus of Pergamon used the term "hemicrania", from which the word "migraine" was derived. He thought there was a connection between the stomach and the brain because of the nausea and vomiting that often accompany an attack. For relief of migraine. Spanish-born physician Abulcasis, also known as Abu El Quasim, suggested application of a hot iron to the head or insertion of garlic into an incision made in the temple. (6)

 

 In the medieval Ages migraine was recognized as a discrete medical disorder with treatment ranging from hot irons to blood letting and even witchcraft. Followers of Galenus explained migraine as caused by aggressive yellow bile.(6)

 

Ebn Sina (Avicenna) described migraine in his textbook “El Qanoon fel tebas  … small movements, drinking and eating, and sounds provoke the pain… the patient cannot tolerate the sound of speaking and light. He would like to rest in darkness alone”. (5)

 

Abu Bakr Mohamed Ibn Zakariya Râzi noted the association of headache with different events in the lives of women, “...And such a headache may be observed after delivery and abortion or during menopause and dysmenorrhea”. (5)

 

In 1712 Bibliotheca Anatomica, Medic, Chirurgica, published in London, characterized five major types of headaches, including the "Megrim," recognizable as classic migraine. (6)

            Graham and Wolff (1938) published their paper advocating ergotamine tart for relieving migraine. Later in the 20th century, Harold Wolff (1950) developed the experimental approach to the study of headache and elaborated the vascular theory of migraine, which has come under attack as the pendulum again swings to the neurogenic theory.(6)

 

In 1962, an Ad Hoc Committee established descriptive definitions of migraine, tension-type headache (TTH), and other headache disorders.  In 1988, the International Headache Society (IHS) published a formal classification system for the diagnosis of headache disorders. This system is currently being reevaluated, modified, and improved (7)

 

The French word migraine is said to be derived from megrim, which in turn was derived from the Latin word hemicrania and its corrupted forms are hemigranea and migranea.(8)