The Need To Have A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to our bodies and minds, akin to formatting a computer. Our brain is a super-computer which continuously creates thoughts. Constant thinking drains the brain battery and sleep gives the brain the rest that it sorely needs.  Sleeping well daily is very important especially during periods of stress. Sleep plays an important role in memory, abstract thinking, decision making, mood, and control of irritability. It is also important for immune function. Sleeplessness can reduce the immune function and lead to susceptibility to various infections.

Dr. Michael Breus, Diplomate, and Fellow of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and author of Beauty Sleep says, it is very important to create a sleep schedule which means, pick a bedtime and a wake up time each day. Even if someone doesn’t fall asleep at the right time, he or she should still wake up at the designated wake time to stick to the sleep schedule. Sleep hygiene measures as mentioned below should be followed for good sleep:



Read More

The Cold Truth About Migraines

With the busy and stressful lives people lead here in the UAE, we have all experienced headaches at some point in time. Sometimes the headaches are mild and bearable, which is cured by over the counter medications or painkillers. On the other hand, some headaches are moderate to severe and on one side of head associated with irritation of light and sounds, which could be a migraine.

Did you know that migraines are not just simple headaches?

There are numerous types of headaches that are medically identified, and migraine is only one among them, which can severely impair the quality of life. A migraine is a neurological condition in which one experiences episodic headaches mostly on one side of the head (the pain and can be both sided in some patients). The condition can be caused in men, women and even in children, although women are major sufferers of the condition.  A migraine attack in an individual is generally accompanied by nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. A typical migraine attack lasts for a minimum of 4 hours and may continue until 3 days in the severe form.



Read More

Restless Leg Syndrome

Do you feel a strange sensation in your leg or the urge to kick or flail your legs at night, resulting in you either waking up or your sleep getting disturbed?

If yes, then you might be suffering from a neurological disorder called ‘Restless Legs Syndrome’ or RLS.

The causes of RLS can be divided into the following categories:

  • Idiopathic (Without any specific cause)
  • Familial (May run in some families)
  • “Iron deficiency anemia,” in which there is too little iron in the blood
  • Other medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of RLS? — People who have RLS get an uncomfortable urge to move their legs when they are at rest. They describe the feeling as crawling, creeping, pulling, or itching. And they say the feeling is deep in the legs – not on the skin – usually below the knees. These symptoms usually get worse as the day moves on, and they are worst at night. The only way that the sensation goes away is when people kick or move their legs. Some people with RLS find that their legs move on their own while they are asleep.

In short, the symptoms of RLS include:



Read More

Neurological conditions in children

Common neurological problems in children

The brain is one of the most important and delicate organs in the human body. Neurological problems are those issues caused by a dysfunction of the brain or nervous system and result in psychological or physical symptoms depending on the area of the brain involved, leading to disorders.

The human brain begins developing when the child is in the womb and continues through infancy until adolescence. The brain cells are mostly formed before birth, although the nerve connections do not develop until later. Neurological disorders have a wide spectrum and can have various causes, complications, symptoms, and results. All neurological conditions involve the nervous system which comprises of the brain and the spine. The nervous system controls everything in the human body including movement, vision and hearing abilities. Symptoms and outcomes depend on the area of the brain that has been damaged. (more…)


Read More

Recurrent Headache

A headache is one of the most common and painful conditions for which a patient seeks medical attention. Globally, the percentage of the adult population with active headache disorders are 46% for headaches in general, 11% for migraines, 42% for tension-type headaches and 3% for chronic daily headaches. The disability attributable to tension-type headaches is larger, worldwide than that due to a migraine. On the World Health Organization’s ranking of causes of disability, headache disorders fall into the 10 most disabling conditions for the two genders, and into the five most disabling conditions for women.

Headaches are divided into two broad categories which are, primary headaches (without any underlying cause) and secondary headaches (with an underlying cause).

Primary headaches usually include Migraines, Tension-type headaches and Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias. With migraines and tension-type headaches being the most common causes of headaches.

About 90% of headaches are caused by primary headaches, with the remaining 10% being caused due to secondary headaches. The responsibility of the clinician is to identify a secondary headache (which is more dangerous) as early as possible in order to prevent complications. There are some warning signs or red flags for the diagnosis of a primary headache. The presence of these red flags indicates the diagnosis of a secondary headache. The red flags are as follows.

  • A headache that is worse in supine, disturbs sleep or presents immediately upon awakening
  • A headache triggered by a cough, Valsalva, bending & exertion
  • A headache associated with Visual obscuration’s, double vision, transient changes in vision with change in posture
  • Vomiting preceding the headache
  • Headache onset after the age 50
  • First severe headache of life
  • Worsening of headache day by day
  • A headache associated with known systemic illness or systemic symptoms (Fever, neck stiffness)
  • A headache with abnormal neurological examination
  • New onset severe Headache during pregnancy or post-partum
  • A headache worsened in standing & relieved in supine
  • A thunderclap headache (time to peak headache intensity is sec to 5 min)
  • A new headache in a patient with AIDS and cancer patients

If the patient has a headache and presents any of the above features, it is important to rule out the secondary causes of a headache by doing the appropriate investigation (which in most cases is a brain MRI).

If the patient does not have any of the red flags, and their history is suggestive of one or more of the primary headache syndromes then the diagnosis does not require further tests and investigation.

The historical points in favour of the diagnosis of migraines are as follows:

  • One-sided headaches with alternating sides getting affected
  • The presence of visual or sensory aura symptoms before a headache begins.
  • Associated with nausea, vomiting, irritation of light, sounds and or smell during a headache
  • Pulsating nature of a headache
  • Triggered by a lack of sleep, stress, fasting, excess sunlight exposure, strong smell, travel, food items etc.
  • A headache worsened by and causing the restriction of the movements

The historical points in favour of tension-type headaches are as follows:

  • Both sided headache
  • Pressure like or band-like sensation
  • No or mild nausea, irritation of light or sounds (Any one of them)
  • Mild to moderate in severity
  • Usually not aggravated by movement


Patients with recurrent headaches should seek medical attention to decide whether they are suffering from the primary or secondary cause of a headache.

If it is a primary headache condition, it is important to prevent the medication over-use i.e. overuse of over the counter painkillers. They are detrimental because of two reasons 1) Painkiller overuse itself can trigger a headache 2) Long-term effects on the kidneys

If it a secondary headache condition, it is important to determine the appropriate cause by relevant investigations to prevent any further complications.


Dr.Vishal Pawar

Specialist in Neurology 

Aster Speciality Clinic, International City 




Read More