Headache and IHH

What is Intracranial Hypertension (IHH)?
Intracranial Hypertension (IHH) was first discovered by a dutch arctic explorer two hundred years ago when his fellow explorers developed secondary intracranial hypertension. This was due to the fact that they were eating polar bear liver with lethal levels of Vitamin A in the liver, and this was having a toxic effect on their brains and causing them to develop the IHH headaches.

In the late 1890s a German physician found it and named it a pseudotumour cerebri.

IHH can be divided into two types:

1) Primary Idiopathic type: This means that there is no known cause and it is more commonly diagnosed.

2) Secondary IHH: as described secondary to a known cause.

The main presenting symptom is a constant unbearable headache and some patients develop a “phantomsmell”. I have had two patients so far with a phantom smell of smoke and referred them back to their GP. Other symptoms are forgetfullness, dizziness, depression and general malaise.

On examination: there is papilloedema present and the condition is confirmed by a neurologist doing lumbar puncture to check for pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is elevated.

Some of the medications that are used are acetozolamide and neurontin.

There is little research into this condition but anectodal evidence suggests that treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic and craniosacral therapy (working on the patient’s CSF) has been helpful to some patients.

If you or somebody you care for suffers from constant headaches with visual symptoms you have to let your GP know as soon as possible to be evaluated for the possible cause.

At the Simpson Pain relief clinic you will benefit from a thorough history and orthopaedic and neurological examination and will be referred if necessary.
Headache and IHH
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