What is Paroxysmal Hemicrania?
Paroxysmal Hemicrania is a rare syndrome characterized by unbearable, boring or claw-like and throbbing headache. It usually affects adults. The pain is usually experienced in or around or behind the eye, rarely spreading to the back of the neck.
Patients also complain of a swollen or drooping eyelid on the affected side of the face, tearing and red eyes and nasal congestion. Moreover, symptoms such as tenderness or soreness of the affected area can be felt in between the attacks. The headache attacks may last for 2 to 45 minutes and may occur 5 to 40 times in a single day.
Types of Paroxysmal Hemicrania:
Two types of this condition have been identified: episodic and chronic.
Episodic – It is the common form among the two types in which the frequency of headache is less, occurring once in several months or a year.
Chronic – It is also known as Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania (CPH) or Sjaastad syndrome. It falls under the category of primary headache disorders. Patients experience frequent attacks of headache on a daily basis for a year or more.
The term Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania (CPH) was coined by a neurologist Ottar Sjaastad in the year 1976 after careful examination of 2 patients. Both the patients complained of similar symptoms which included solitary, limited (paroxysmal), one-sided (hemicranias) severe headache on a daily basis (chronic).
Specific causes of this condition have not been identified. Patients with this condition are not prone to have any other neurological disorders except for trigeminal neuralgia. In some cases, attacks may be triggered by rotating or bending the head and applying pressure against the neck.
Treating Paroxysmal Hemicrania:
- Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as indomethacin can relieve the symptomatic pain completely.
- Verapamil, a calcium-channel blocking drug and corticosteroids may also be used to treat the condition.
Regular exercises and sufficient sleep can reduce the frequency of headache attacks.