Headache and Stress

Dr. Ravinder Singh discusses his best-selling headache mastery book “Not Tonight I Have A Headache.”

Dr. Ravinder Singh is a board-certified neurologist specializing in the prevention and treatment of neurological disorders, established the Beverly Hills Headache Institute to combine the best of modern medicine & ancient Eastern healing arts. As the headache specialist of his time, he is the author of the ultimate headache book, “Not Tonight, I Have A Headache,” in addition to also being a stress and stroke specialist. Through this integrative practice, he has helped hundreds of patients deal with the debilitating effects of fear and stress. The practice is also home to an ayurvedic doctor, homeopathic doctor, acupuncturist, chiropractor, yoga therapist, and massage therapist.


Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, glad that you could join us once again. Our guest today is Dr. Ravinder Singh, he’s a board-certified neurologist, best-selling author of the headache mastery book Not Tonight I Have a Headache and the founder of the Beverly Hills Headache Institute and Integrative Practice in Beverly Hills, California. He’s joining us on the program today to talk about his book, to discuss headaches, their causes, their treatments and about stress as a cause of headaches. Welcome to the program Ravinder, there thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Ravinder Singh: Well thank you for having me.

Neal: So you’re very busy, you’re a board-certified neurologist with a practice, you’ve started the Beverly Hills Headache Institute, you’re a best-selling author. Give us a little background.

Dr Singh: I’ll be happy to. As you said, I’m a neurologist. I was trained at UCLA Medical Center as a neurologist and had to finish my residency there and then I initially I started an academic practice. I was trained as a stroke neurologist but then I decided to go into private practice and headache has been my passion from Day One but when I started seeing patients in my practice, I became more and more interested because when I first started, we didn’t have a lot of treatments. There were some treatments but not a lot and so I was looking around for what else I could do for my patients and over the years, I’ve just kind of gained expertise in treating headache patients and finally I decided that there was a lot of misconceptions out there and decided to write a book on headaches and started my own headache institute. And my passion having to combine both Western and Eastern medicine. I’m originally from India and I’ve been exposed to a lot of the natural treatments when I was growing up as a child but then decided that if there are some limitations to Western medicine. I was seeing patients who were not really benefiting from all the medications I was giving them or other the Western treatments and when I started incorporating some of the eastern strategies, I started finding that they were getting much better and were able to get off their medications. So that led me to, spurred me on to write the book and then start this Integrative Center which I like doing that now and it’s gotten bigger over the years.

Neal: You mentioned the limitations of the pharmaceuticals that you were prescribing to some of your patients. Did you find that the limitations were eliminated by incorporating Western medicine or did you find that some of the modern pharmaceuticals enhanced some of the Western techniques as well as maybe there were some limitations in that as well?

Dr Singh: Well it’s both. I mean everything has limitations, we just have to choose the right treatment or try to find the right treatment for a particular patient. The limitation of Western medicine are that Western medicine focuses mainly, well a lot on acute treatment and so that the drugs were designed or all the medications or the treatments are designed to help the acute treatment and not really try to find the actual cause of the problem in many instances. So there are a lot of benefits from Western medicine when you need acute treatment, when you’re on an accident where you have a trauma or you need surgery. All these advancements are very helpful and so I don’t shun one or the other, is try to find the best treatment that will eliminate some of the limitations. So for example, since the Western medicine is mainly about acute treatment, they don’t really focus on preventative so using some of the Eastern techniques to find some of the cause of the problem and address the reason why the patient is having their symptoms, that can be very helpful. On the other hand, Eastern medicine has its own limitations because they’re not focused on acute treatment, this is more about prevention, more about lifestyle changes so sometimes for the acute treatment, you really need medications so it’s a matter of finding what works best and the limitations are for the particular patient to see what is not working for them and how do we address their situation based upon their circumstances.

Neal: Early in our conversation, you mentioned headaches being not necessarily stress-related but varying in having some misconceptions that’s why that’s what led you to starting your Institute.

Dr Singh: Right. So headache, generally speaking, most people who have a headache, they have what we call attention type headache. So you’re tired, you may have had a long day and you may have been stressing out over something and you feel pain in the front of your head, it’s like that dull achy kind of pain. Maybe you are straining a lot with your eyes and so it’s something that a lot of people experience and you just need some rest and maybe it’ll go away. Migraine is more than just a headache. Migraine is actually a genetic problem, it’s a very specific type of pain and it’s not just pain, it’s not just the headache pain but there are many other symptoms associated with migraine. A lot of patients who have migraine headache tend to tend to be generally more women than men. We don’t know what the reason is, there are some obvious reasons, there are some genetic, there are some immature association with with mensies for example but we don’t really know what are the other differences why women suffer more than men with migraine headaches. But migraines, they tend to have other symptoms such as nausea or vomiting or light sensitivity, sound sensitivity and there are some particular triggers that many people experience. Sometimes there are some food triggers or something in the environment that may bring on the headache or the symptoms. So the migraine is more than just a headache, it’s a particular problem. There is something going on inside the brain and we’re trying we’re finding out as more research is being done that there are certain chemicals in the brain that are elevated when you have a migraine headache and sometimes blocking those chemicals can help alleviate the pain or the other symptoms of the migraine, so there’s the difference. So some people think that migraine is just a bad headache and that’s not necessarily true. So there’s a difference between tension type headache on one hand and migraine headache on the other.

Neal: Do you have a blog or a website where our listeners can go and get some more information about headache and about the Institute as well?

Dr Singh: Yes. The institute is Beverly Hills Headache Institute and actually you could just go to www.beverlyhillsheadacheinstitute.com or to make it easy, if you want to just enjoy my blog or actually to see my book, the website is www.treatmyheadache.com

Neal: Now in wrapping up, I’ve got to ask you about the title of your book, Not Tonight I have a Headache. Now we’ve heard that that implied throughout the years on comedy stages and movies and films. Why did you decide to name it Not Tonight I have a Headache?

Dr Singh: Because obviously it’s a catchy title and I wanted to play on that but also because especially with migraine headaches, it does impact your life a lot and interferes with your daily living. And so part of daily living is not just having what it implies but is that it affects all aspects of your life so you are always saying, people with migraine headaches are always saying, “I cannot do this today. I cannot go to work. I cannot do. I cannot participate in my children’s activities.” So they’re losing time away from life and so their regular phrases “I cannot do this” so that’s just a play on words that ‘Not Tonight I have a headache’ but more implying that the headache is impacting their life so much that all different types of activities are affected.

Neal: Well thank you so much Dr Singh, it’s been a pleasure and I’m hoping to get a copy of your book and I’m hoping to talk with you again.

Dr Singh: My pleasure. I’ll be happy to send you a copy, thank you very much.

Neal: Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud and be sure and visit our Affiliate Page at HP RFM and healthprofessionalradio.com.au

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