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A History of Head Pain

See how headaches have made their mark.

From the earliest days of recorded human history, headaches and migraines have been a mysterious problem. The ancient Greeks believed they were caused by evil spirits called Keres.1 Aristotle mentioned that the head is subject to pain, because of evil humors proceeding from the stomach and disturbing the brain.2 The Romans simply blamed headaches on the gods.

Given the creative theories about the cause of headaches throughout history, it comes as little wonder that historical headache remedies tended to be just as outlandish. Here's an abbreviated look at diagnosing and treating headache pain throughout history.

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1.    Robinson, Derek. "Pain-Related Bodily Awareness." Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within. By Klaus Podoll. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2008. 140. Google Books. Web. https://books.google.com/books?id=MFuYKKbESaIC&pg=PA140&lpg=PA140&dq=greeks+headache+keres&source=bl&ots=KH1w2yjmvw&sig=ZiHyjg8-5oY-QHS2A7ZZulbrAb8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzlbONtvjMAhWIQyYKHeb8A4oQ6AEINDAD#v=onepage&q=greeks%20headache%20keres&f=false.

2.    Aristotle. "Aristotle's Problems." The Works of Aristotle: The Famous Philosopher. Ed. William Salmon. N.p.: n.p., 1828. 216. Google Books. Web. https://books.google.com/books?id=gQ3QrNuToiMC&pg=PA216&lpg=PA216&dq=aristotle+headache+stomach+brain&source=bl&ots=-1_z91LGqg&sig=Y9pVSXVOfwngBE0m70rrOta78UE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-95bOu_jMAhWDPiYKHUE5CbQQ6AEIJDAC#v=onepage&q=aristotle%20headache%20stomach%20brain&f=false.

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