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Headache and Peptic Ulcer

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Abstract

HEADACHE is one of the most common symptoms of an underlying nervous tension state. For all practical purposes, chronic or recurrent headache is due to one of two mechanisms: (1) excessive dilatation of extracranial arteries, or (2) excessive tension in the muscles of the head and neck. In the past, many organic causes have been listed and the medical literature is filled with reports stressing the frequency of head pain due to disease processes in the eyes, sinuses, nasal structures, and teeth. Head trauma and injuries to the neck have been incriminated as frequent causes of headache. Even such conditions as glandular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and pelvic disease have been listed as common causes of headache. The truth is that all such “organic” diseases have very little to do with the production of headache. The noxious stimuli are almost always cerebral in origin and produce the excessive vasodilatation or increased muscle tension resulting in pain by humoral or nervous mechanisms not yet well understood. Headache is truly a disease of civilization and stress.

Peptic ulcer is another well-recognized disease of civilization. Although it is commonly regarded as a specific disease, it might be more accurately thought of as another manifestation of nervous tension state. It has often been said that it is relatively easy to heal an ulcer, but most difficult to prevent its recurrence. When medical treatment fails, the problem can often be handled quite satisfactorily by surgical procedures designed to inhibit gastric hypersecretion. This can be accomplished either . . .


 

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