24 April 2002

When life's a pain in the head

Women, men and children suffer debilitating headaches that ruin large portions of their lives. What can be done about this?


WOMEN, men and children suffer debilitating headaches that often ruin their student as well as professional careers.

In fact, even US stars suffer from migraine, describing it as an awful ‘head explosion’ when interviewed by National Enquirer a few years ago. Naturally, this leads to loss of earnings. Perhaps this is the reason for some stars getting the reputation of being ‘difficult to work with’? Of course, this description could be the reason for many men, women and children being described as ‘difficult’ - but living with pain will obviously make one ‘difficult’!

Dealing with the long-term results
This problem is not remedied by a simple prescription of stress-relieving medication and tonics for chronic headache sufferers. Yes, it will address the symptom, for now, but what about the cause and long-term results?

Patients of The Headache Clinic report that it was no fun growing up with migraine and their teens were ‘a pain’ instead of a joy! One such patient says she suffered mixed muscle tension (migraine) since childhood and eventually became addicted to painkillers.

Dr Shevel, director and founder of the Clinic,’s qualifications include dentistry, maxillofacial and oral surgery as well as medicine, says his team has brought quality of life back to children, teens and adults consulting The Headache Clinic. “While the CAUSE of a headache is often unique to each patient, the end-result is mostly the same: the joy of experiencing life to the full and being cured in a drug-free, professional manner,” he says.

Children and migraine
Data obtained by The Headache Clinic shows that about 2% of children under the age of 17 suffer from migraine (US data is higher). “Children’s headaches are often not taken seriously, leading to many years lost that they can never be recaptured. Puberty, of course, brings about its own problems, while the addition of headache can lead to so much further discomfort,” says Dr Shevel.

Migraines in history
Ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece, believed in treatments such as prayers and offerings to appease evil spirits. Then, they evolved to trepanning through boring a hole into the skull to release the evil inhabitant, which is believed to have alleviated pain through a placebo effect. In fact, the great Hippocrates believed headache could be traced to ‘humors’ (fluids or vapours circulating in the body) and recommended bleeding to drain the excess fluids.

Modern treatments
The Headache Clinic’s methods, of course, are developed through extensive research of the last and our new century and highly sophisticated, while treatment is mostly drug-free. In fact, Dr Shevel’s articles on the debilitating suffering of headache are regularly published in medical journals, while his ongoing research on headaches and modern methods of surgery on wisdom teeth to reduce swelling and pain have resulted in his work being recognised by the University of Pretoria, while he has addressed global conferences on these topics.

Types of Headaches:
Headaches come in an estimated 12 guises, including secondary headaches, tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, rebound or analgesic headaches, episodic headaches, and hormonal headaches - all of which can become chronic headaches!

The Headache Clinic rates are according to specified medical aid tariffs.

The Headache Clinic is staffed by a team of dedicated medical practitioners and specialists. They have five therapeutic priorities:

  • to exclude serious underlying causes
  • to identify the cause of the pain
  • to provide DRUG-FREE treatment which avoids (or stops) dependence on medication
  • to provide treatment with low ongoing costs
  • to empower patients by eliminating, or giving them control of, their headaches, thereby making them independent of the medical and pharmaceutical professions.

Persons suffering from headaches may contact The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg on (011) 484 0933 – website: www.headacheclinic.co.za


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Headache expert

Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules