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September 14, 1957

Management of the Patient with Headache

JAMA. 1957;165(2):197. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980200077023

It is surprising how much of interest and help has been gathered between the covers of this authoritative book. It is true that headache is a symptom and not a disease, but this is an oversimplification, since we are so often confronted by the question: A symptom of what? The patient comes to his physician for relief, and, if this is not quickly forthcoming, he makes the rounds of waiting rooms until he gets it. Hence, diagnosis is important but is often elusive and indeterminate. Classification of headache is also difficult, for the causes are many and varied. We must keep in mind the possibility of such organic diseases as brain tumor or meningitis which may be irreversible or even fatal. An error in judgment here may castigate a practitioner for life. Since the headache is almost entirely subjective, especially in its beginning, we can get little help from laboratory

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