Table 1

Key clinical features that assist the differentiation of more common headache disorders

HeadacheTension-type headacheMigraineTrigeminal autonomic cephalalgiasTrigeminal neuralgia
Cluster headacheParoxysmal hemicraniaHemicrania continuaSUNCT/SUNA
Sex (M:F)4:53:15:11:11:23:22:3
Duration30 min to 7 days (episodic)4–72 h15–180 min2–30 minContinuous headache1–600 s1–120 s
FrequencyEpisodic or chronic (variable from rare to daily)Episodic or chronic (variable from rare to daily)1–8/day>5 daily for more than half of the timeContinuous headache>1 daily for more than half of the timeVery variable frequency
Pain type
 LocationBilateralUnilateral or bilateralUnilateralUnilateralUnilateralUnilateral; V1/V2>V3Unilateral; V2/V3>V1
 QualityPressing/tightening (non-throbbing)ThrobbingVariableVariableVariableNeuralgiform painNeuralgiform pain
SeverityMild to moderateModerate to severeVery severeVery severeModerate to very severeVery severeVery severe
Migrainous symptoms++++/–+/–
Autonomic featuresNo+/–++++++++++++Sparse
TriggersAlcohol (within 30 min)CutaneousCutaneous
Indometacin response+/– (as simple analgesic)± (as simple analgesic)++++++
  • Based on framework of International Headache Society Classification Criteria.

  • Chronic migraine is defined as headache occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than 3 months, which has the features of migraine headache on at least 8 days per month. Chronic cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania are defined as headache attacks occurring for more than 1 year without remission or with remission periods lasting less than 1 month.

  • SUNA, short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with cranial autonomic symptoms; SUNCT, short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing.