Headache and Hemicrania

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Section XIII

Treatment of Headache and Hemicrania

In his collection of prophetic sayings, Imam Ibn Mãja cited a tradition in which God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم had applied henna to his scalp for his headache, and said: “God willing, it will help.” Although there are some questions about the authority of the chain of narrators of the above tradition, nevertheless, God willing, we shall later on in this section discuss some of the benefits of henna in relationship to headache.

Common headache is caused by an imbalance of temperaments, and it is a disorder of humors that accompanies almost every illness. Typical headache (Arb. sudã’) can be either massive or partial. When it is periodical and limited to one side of the head, it is called migraine headache or hemicrania (Arb. shaqïqa), and when it spreads throughout the entire head, it is called in Arabic baidha; khawtha or helmet. When pain affects the back of the head it is called cephalalgia, and there are many varieties of headache with as many causes.

Generally speaking, headache is due to heat and fever in the head because of accumulation of vapors seeking a way out, and in the absence of such exist, they cause intense splitting headache. The same thing may happen to a pot, for example, when its contents are heated and need to expand. When such vapors spread throughout the head and expand uncontrollably, they cause increase in the amount of fluid in the cranium, swelling of the membrane of the head, and when they do not break up, they cause a type of headache that is called delirium (Arb. sidr). Hence, head fever, even without swelling, sometimes produces uncontrollable emotions, restlessness, narrow-mindedness, and confused speech, otherwise known as false delirium.

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