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Headache. 1999 Apr;39(4):287-98.

The headache in American medical practice in the 19th century: a historical overview.

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Department of History, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


An examination of American medical literature reveals that in the 19th century, headache was seen as an important diagnostic sign, and served to demonstrate medicine's concern with explanations, rather than its therapeutic effectiveness. Headache treatment was therefore directed at causes rather than at its chief symptom: painkilling was regarded as empirical, quackish, and sectarian. Even when nonnarcotic analgesic drugs, such as phenacetin and aspirin, were introduced towards the end of the century, physicians tended not to use them for headache.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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