1. The Basics of Headache Classification and Diagnosis

  1. Matthew S. Robbins MD,
  2. Brian M. Grosberg MD and
  3. Richard B. Lipton MD
  1. Seymour Solomon1 and
  2. Richard B. Lipton2

Published Online: 19 JUL 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118678961.ch1



How to Cite

Solomon, S. and Lipton, R. B. (2013) The Basics of Headache Classification and Diagnosis, in Headache (eds M. S. Robbins, B. M. Grosberg and R. B. Lipton), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118678961.ch1

Editor Information

  1. Montefi ore Headache Center, Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Montefi ore Headache Center, Bronx, NY, USA

  2. 2

    Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 JUL 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470654729

Online ISBN: 9781118678961



  • Headache;
  • diagnosis;
  • classification;
  • migraine;
  • tension-type headache;
  • trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia;
  • cluster headache


This chapter features an approach to both headache classification and diagnosis. The history of headache classification and the current classification system for headache disorders are first described, followed by an overview on the approach to the evaluation of a patient with recurrent or daily headache. Then, an outline of a 3 step diagnostic process is presented. First, we emphasize the identification or exclusion of secondary headache disorders by history, physical examination and judicious use of diagnostic tests. Second, 4 groups of primary headache disorders defined based on headache frequency and duration are delineated, and referred to as primary headache syndromes. Finally, the identification of specific disorders within syndromic groups is discussed.