The Distinctive Headache of the Occipital Condyle Syndrome: A Report of Four Cases

Authors

  • G. Morís MD,

    1. From the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain (Drs. Morís, Misiego, Alvarez, Berciano, and Pascual); and
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  • C. Roig MD,

    1. Service of Neurology, Hospital Santa Cruz y San Pablo, Barcelona, Spain (Dr. Roig).
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  • M. Misiego MD,

    1. From the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain (Drs. Morís, Misiego, Alvarez, Berciano, and Pascual); and
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  • A. Alvarez MD,

    1. From the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain (Drs. Morís, Misiego, Alvarez, Berciano, and Pascual); and
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  • J. Berciano MD,

    1. From the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain (Drs. Morís, Misiego, Alvarez, Berciano, and Pascual); and
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  • J. Pascual MD

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain (Drs. Morís, Misiego, Alvarez, Berciano, and Pascual); and
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Address all correspondence to Dr. Julio Pascual, Service of Neurology, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, 39008 Santander, Spain.

Abstract

Four examples of occipital condyle syndrome, that is, unilateral occipital pain and ipsilateral tongue paralysis due to selective erosion of the occipital condyle, are reported. The four patients complained of a continuous, severe, unilateral, occipital pain which kept them with the head rotated to the side of the pain and held with their hands. The pain became unbearable with head rotation to the nonpainful side and with unilateral suboccipital palpation. The onset of this very characteristic unilateral headache antedated by as long as 2 1/2 months the ipsilateral hypoglossal paralysis. The occipital condyle syndrome may be the first manifestation of cancer or of chronic inflammatory lesions; recognition of this distinctive headache enables the clinical diagnosis to be made.

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