The most unusual headache syndromes in neurology

Headaches constitute the bulk of what neurologists see in their general clinics. Most people with headaches fall neatly into one of two categories, migraine or tension type headache (TTH). The neurology clinic may have a sprinkling of people with cluster headache or paroxysmal hemicrania, two of the more common trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs). All these headaches are easy to recognise (most of the time), and easy to treat (until things get complicated).

By JD Fletcher –, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

There are other common and readily recognisable headaches in the neurology clinic. Such headaches include idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), medication overuse headache (MOH), chronic daily headache (CDH), post lumbar puncture headache (PLPH), and spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH).

Headache. Threephin on Flikr.

Several headaches are however rare and peculiar, many unheard of by many neurologists. These are the headaches which prompt the neurologist to delve into the textbooks, or phone an expert headache specialist. What are these distinctive and curious entities? Here are neurochecklists’ most unusual headaches.

Aeroplane headache

Bathing headache

Epicrania fugax

Exploding head syndrome

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia


(headache and neurological deficits with CSF lymphocytosis)

Hypnic headache

Ice cream headache

Idiopathic stabbing headaches


(long-lasting autonomic symptoms with associated hemicrania)

By Mike Faherty, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Nummular headache

Occipital condyle syndrome 

Raeder’s paratrigeminal syndrome

Sexual headache


(short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing)

Lego headache. Matt Brown on Flikr.

Space headache

Sphenopalatine neuralgia

Sunrise-related headache

TAC-TIC syndromes

Trochlear headaches 

Yawning headache

 Explore all of headaches on neurochecklists

Headache. Diego Fornero on Flikr.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s