Research, Technology

The Worst Ways to Treat a Severe Headache

Approximately 20% of the world's population periodicallysuffers from migraine - the so-called severe headache that covers one half of the head. At the beginning of this pain, an aura appears before the eyes of many people, which blocks vision. In this case, a person experiences nausea, vomiting, hypersensitivity to light and other terrible symptoms. The exact cause of migraine is still unknown to scientists, but it is assumed that the tendency to migraine arises due to specific environmental conditions and heredity. At a younger age, boys are more likely to suffer from migraines, but then a severe headache begins to bother women. There are good medicines for migraine today, but in earlier times there were no such remedies. Medieval physicians and healers of previous eras treated headaches with strange methods that would seem wild to modern man.

Before the advent of migraine drugs, doctors treated severe headaches in terrible ways.


  • 1 Treatment of migraine by bloodletting
  • 2 Craniotomy for migraine
  • 3 Electricity against migraines
  • 4 Dried moth against migraine
  • 5 Garlic against migraines

Treatment of migraine with bloodletting

During the Middle Ages, medicine was verypoorly developed. This was mainly due to the fact that doctors had a very poor understanding of the work of the human body. For example, they believed that in the body of every man and woman there are four types of fluid, which should always be in an ideal ratio. If a person had a headache, it was believed that the fluids in his body were not in balance - to correct this, part of the blood was released from the person.

Medieval bloodletting

Bloodletting was a popular treatmentdiseases until the beginning of the 20th century. In such an unusual way, doctors tried to cure people not only from migraines, but also from cardiovascular insufficiency, pneumonia and a number of other diseases. As you can see, this was of little use - in most cases, people even received more harm.

A new way to treat migraine appeared only in 1770year, when the Swedish physician Samuel Auguste Tissot suggested using orange tree leaves, valerian, bathing and following a special diet for this.

Doctor Samuel Auguste Tissot

Surprisingly, despite the wildness of bloodletting, there is scientific evidence that it is indeed effective for migraines. True, the results of such studies should be treated with skepticism.

See also: The world's first migraine drug has been approved - and it's expensive

Craniotomy for migraine

A craniotomy is a surgical operationin which a hole is made in the human head to access the brain tissue. Scientists believe that this procedure has been known to mankind since time immemorial. This, at least, is evidenced by the finds made in Egypt - there trepanation was often used in the treatment of various injuries. In the 16th century, holes in the head were made to save people from headaches.

The skull of a man who underwent a trepanation

Once the Dutch doctor Petrus Forestus tooka brain sample from a person with frequent headaches and announced that a certain "black worm" was the cause of the pains. Modern scientists believe that he mistook for a worm a part of the brain with darkened tissues that occur with hematomas. Most likely, his patient's migraine was caused by trauma. Needless to say, trepanation for migraine does not help at all, and there is evidence for this.

You will be interested: In Peru found an elongated skull of an ancient man who survived a complex operation

electricity for migraines

Today, many researchers are tryinguse electrical stimulation for medical purposes - for example, in this way they want to improve people's memory. And in ancient times, electricity was considered a good treatment for migraines. So, in ancient Rome, rays were used for electrical stimulation. A man held one hand on his head, and lowered the other into the water with an animal that produces electricity. The therapy was extremely unpleasant, but the doctors were sure that it helped to eliminate the headache.

In ancient Rome, electric rays were used to treat migraines.

Dried moth against migraine

During the Middle Ages, there were moregentle ways to get rid of headaches. So, the Arab doctor Ali ibn Isa al-Kahkhal suggested treating migraine by applying a compress of dried moths to the head. Whether this method relieved headaches is not clear. Perhaps the patients were simply afraid of previous treatments like electrotherapy and agreed that the dried moth really cured their disease.

Dried moth hardly helped with a headache

See also: What is a concussion and why is it dangerous?

Garlic for migraines

We've saved the worst method for last.headache treatment. The Arab scientist Abul-Qasim Khalaf ibn Abbas al-Zahrawi made holes on the temples of patients, put garlic cloves in them and covered the wounds with a bandage. After 15 hours, the bandages were removed and the wounds were rubbed with oil for several days. After that, the doctor burned the man's temples with red-hot metal and sent him home. Perhaps the worst way to treat migraines can not be imagined.

Despite the cruel way of treating migraine, the Arab doctor was very respected

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Finally, here's an interesting fact for you - people who often suffer from migraines rarely get type 2 diabetes. You can read more about this here.