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Classification of headaches

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Headache disorders are classified by the ICHD-III as (1):

  • primary headache disorders
    • migraine
    • tension type headache
    • trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias
    • other primary headache disorders
  • secondary headache disorders
    • headache attributed to trauma or injury of the head or neck
    • headache attributed to cervical or cranial vascular disorder
    • non-vascular intracranial disorder headache
    • substance or substance withdrawal headache
    • headache attributed to infection
    • disorder of homeostasis headache
    • headache or facial pain attributed to disorder of the cranium, neck, eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, teeth, mouth or other facial or cervical structure
    • headache attributed to psychiatric disorder
  • neuropathies, facial pains and other headaches: painful lesions of the cranial nerves and other facial pains, and other headache disorders


  • Headache disorders may be classified in several ways. It may be hierarchical as above, research based, aetiological, or clinical.


  1. Headache classification subcommittee of the international headache society. The international classification of headache disorders. 3rd edition. Cephalalgia. 2018; 38: 1-211

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