December 19, 2005

A question for those smarter than I

I've seen a new headache remedy lately on commercials. It looks a little like a stick deoderant, and you rub it across your forehead to deliver whatever anti-headache medicine it contains.

A few questions arise:

1. Headaches occur within the brain, correct? How is rubbing medicine on your skin going to help, since even after being absorbed there's that little barrier called your skull between the medicine and your brain?

2. If it absorbs into your bloodstream, wouldn't it make more sense to rub it in under your arm or on the inside of your thigh, where major arteries lie? It seems that the medicine would be absorbed and distributed quicker. Even along your jugular makes more sense.

Ok, so "few" = two. Got any answers?

Posted by Ted at December 19, 2005 06:03 AM | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Ted the only thing I can think of is that it may be some sort of direct acting sinus headache med.There is an empty cavity in your forehead between the outer flesh and the skull.This is known as the fifth layer.The other four are behind the face starting right behind the nose.Sinus headaches are caused in the forehead when this layer of sinus swells.Perhaps it is some sort of direct absorbing steroid med much like Flonase or something.
Of course it could just be a direct acting blood thinner like Tylenol of Advil and the whole forehead vs. underarm thing could just be a psychological thing.Remember that the only reason we still fly the shuttle instead of something like the DC-X is because public opinion dictated that the shuttle with it's wings just "looks right".
Of course all of this is just a guess,too.

Posted by: Russ at December 19, 2005 07:53 AM

Oddly enough, there's a direct correlation between tension in the facial muscles and some kinds of headaches. My sainted aunt, who retired after 40 years of teaching high school English and somehow kept her sanity, has been troubled with headaches all her life. Drugs never helped. She even went to the Mayo Clinic and had no luck. She was getting some relief from acupuncture, then she tried this lip-balm stuff. For her particular type of headache, it really works.

I read somewhere that a cosmetic surgeon who was doing facelifts noticed that moving the facial muscles around over the eyes tended to improve his patients' migraines. I guess there is some research underway on this. I hope so. Life's too short to hurt all the time.

Speaking of which, I jut got out of the hospital after another bout with kidney stones. Lemmetellya, when you get better from stones, you're BETTER. I hope all of your tribe are having a great holiday!

Posted by: Doug Pratt at December 19, 2005 09:21 AM

If you are attempting to affect the vascular system (problems with is can cause headaches) then application in odd areas may still be effective.

Posted by: Princess Cat at December 19, 2005 11:03 AM

Still smearing Prep H in weird places, Ted?

Princess Cat, I can succesfully not make a bunch of really crude jokes about "odd areas." Maybe.

Posted by: Victor at December 19, 2005 11:33 AM

"What happened to Preparations A through G?"

--Steven Wright

Posted by: Doug Pratt at December 20, 2005 02:29 PM

Headaches occurring within the brain are very rare, as the brain doesn't "feel" pain. If membranes around the brain hurt, then you've got a very serious problem, too.

Vascular (if superficial) and tension headaches *may* benefit from a topical analgesic, but I'm a much bigger fan of aspirin taken orally (with a tad of caffeine mixed in). It wouldn't help migraines, because those are due to blood vessel constriction deeper within the head.

I'd also be concerned about what additives were used in the preparation in the commercial to make it penetrate the skin.

If it even works at all, that is.


Posted by: liv at December 20, 2005 05:59 PM

Well, my understanding was always that your run of the mill headache was in the muscles in your forehead, upper back of the neck and/or temples, but that migraine headaches were in the brain itself. I could google it to be sure, but, y'know.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 20, 2005 09:13 PM

Migraines are believed to be initiated by constriction and then (sometimes) dilation of blood vessels which supply blood to the brain - so that's certainly correct, TS! But the brain doesn't feel pain in and of itself; that's what I was getting at - it's the release of certain chemicals that cause (among other things like stomach upset and visual disturbance) what is clinically termed "head pain."

But it's all semantics, heh? Head pain's head pain!

Posted by: liv at December 20, 2005 09:45 PM
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