Anantavata Shiroroga – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Anantavata is a type of headache caused by the vitiation of all the three doshas. The pain not only occurs in the head but also occurs in the eyes, temples and jaws.

Meaning, Definition

Ananta means endless. It indicates that

  • severe and endless pain
  • widespread nature of the headache
  • involvement of many components of the head i.e. eyes, temples and jaws

The term vata in the name probably indicates the predominant involvement of vata.
Read – Suryavarta Shiroroga – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Causes

Causes have not been specified in the treatises. We should assume that this headache is caused by –

  • Etiological factors capable of simultaneously aggravating all the three doshas, especially in the head
  • General etiological factors mentioned for headaches

Pathogenesis

Firstly there is aggravation of all the three doshas.

They press and trouble both manya nadis i.e. the nerves / blood vessels on either side of the neck.

Later, they produce severe pain in the back of the neck.

They also get lodged in the eyes, eyebrow regions and temples and cause pulsations at the back of the upper jaw.  

Finally they cause lock jaw and stiffness of the lower jaw and many kinds of eye disorders.

Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the back of the neck
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Pain in the region of / along the eyebrows
  • Pain in the temples
  • Pulsations behind the upper jaw
  • Stiffness of lower jaw / lock jaw
  • Eye disorders

According to master Chakrapani, commentator of Charaka Samhita, anyatovata is another name for anantavata. He tells that in spite of these diseases mentioned in different contexts there will be no difference in the symptoms.

Inferential understanding – Anyatovata is described in the context of eye disorders and anantavata in the context of headaches. Both these are similar conditions. When eye symptoms are predominant it should be called as anyatovata. When headache is predominant, it should be called as anantavata.

Probable Modern Correlation

Trigeminal neuralgia – Anantavata is compared with trigeminal neuralgia. This is characterized by severe paroxysmal or dull headache. The pain occurs in the entire course of the trigeminal nerve distribution. There is absence of local swelling / inflammation or abscess. Anyatovata is compared to glaucoma.

Related Reading – Trigeminal Neuralgia and Ayurvedic treatment

Sphenoidal Headache – Anantavata is also compared to sphenoidal headache. The origin and distribution of pain and is from sphenoid bone of the skull. There is no condition named sphenoid headache modern texts. The sphenoid connection to the headaches are mentioned and described in different names. Sphenoid headaches may be caused due to

  • headache which is secondary to sphenoid sinus mucocele
  • Isolated sphenoid sinus fungal ball / fungal sphenoid sinusitis
  • Isolated sphenoid sinusitis

Treatment

Suryavarta line of treatment – Anantavata headache is treated on the lines of suryavarta headache.

Siramokshana – Bloodletting with venesection method is useful. When bloodletting is done in proper way, it relieves the headache.

Ideal diet – The vata and pitta mitigating foods should be advised.

Example –

  • Madhumastaka – a kind of sweetmeat prepared with honey, flour, ghee and oil. Some have considered this to be puran poli / holige.
  • Samyava – a kind of cake of wheaten flour, a preparation similar to lapsi or halwa. It is prepared using ghee, milk, jaggery and wheat.
  • Ghritapura – sweetmeat composed of flour, milk, coconut and ghee. It is considered to be ghevar or malpua.

Lepa – many pain relieving pastes prepared using analgesic herbs is applied over the head.

Anjana – collyrium should be applied using Chandrodaya varti or Nararjunavarti.
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