FREEDOM FROM HEADACHES: A Personal Plan for Relief of Headache, Face and Neck Pain by

FREEDOM FROM HEADACHES: A Personal Plan for Relief of Headache, Face and Neck Pain

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An up-to-date roundup of helpful advice for one of mankind's most prevalent and perplexing pains--by two neurologists, one of whom (Saper) runs the Michigan Headache and Neurology Institute in Ann Arbor. Starting with a little background on ancient cures and noted sufferers (Jefferson, Poe, Lewis Carroll, Freud, Tolstoy), they plunge into an appraisal--and disapproval--of most over-the-counter headache remedies. These are either too expensive, contain too little of the extra ingredient, or have the potential for harm or abuse. Plain aspirin or acetaminophen (for the stomach sensitive) will do in most cases. Migraine and tension headaches come up for most discussion, as the two most common types, and the review of current knowledge is thorough, with questionnaires provided to test whether your personality is one commonly associated with the ailment. (The caveat not to use such tests in self-diagnosis is clearly stated, and just as clearly will be ignored.) Also discussed are a wide variety of other types of headache or facial pain; sinus headache is dismissed as a misnomer for all but a few (it's most likely a vascular headache). Then there are the oddities--the ice cream headache, the hot dog (or nitrite) headache, or the Chinese restaurant (monosodium glutamate) headache, and, new to us, the headache coincident with orgasm which occurs in some men (more than women). Though they omit some current theories on how the brain's naturally produced pain-relieving substances may help achieve pain relief, the doctors do discuss the reality of the placebo effect and also give good marks to biofeedback, relaxation, and other non-pharmaceutical approaches to analgesia. They make it clear that a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors can figure in or actually do trigger headaches, and advise how you can analyze your behavior and perhaps prevent head pain. Not a panacea (the title's misleading), but words of wisdom which can offer comfort to the afflicted.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster