Chronic Headache-the Various Causes

I recently heard a symposium by all the members of a clinic, on headache. One wrote on headache of digestive origin, one on headache of kidney origin, one on headache of eye origin, one on headache of nasal origin, one on headache of nervous origin and one on headache of allergic origin, so you can see that when the headache is chronic a large number of conditions and disturbances can cause this same symptom.

Personally, I am inclined to believe that most chronic headaches are of nervous origin. They are usually due to fatigue or infection or absorption from the digestive tract.

In this symposium of which I speak, the specialist on digestive diseases was fair enough to say that he did not believe very many headaches are caused by disturbances of the digestive system. He admitted that every specialist is inclined to view all human ills from his own standpoint and tried to avoid that error himself.


Three kinds of headaches, however, probably originate in the digestive system. The first of these is headache associated with constipation. Patients with this trouble usually are slaves to the cathartic or enema habit. Although these headaches have usually been ascribed to auto-intoxication, it is probable that mechanical changes explain them even better.

In another type of case, the headache is only part of a general constitutional asthenia, in which the head, digestive tract and the body generally, all take part. Headaches in these people are usually due to fatigue owing to their poor constitutional strength. They are chronically tired and chronically have a fatigue headache. Relief frequently is obtained by high vitamin, high calorie diet, with frequent small feedings, adequate rest, regulation of the bowels, and mild and limited exercise.

A third type of headache originating in the digestive system may be of what is called the “bilious” type. This is not a very scientific term and, as a matter of fact, I am inclined to believe that what it really means is migraine of the abdominal kind.