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Supraorbital neuralgia. Vågå study of headache epidemiology


Ottar Sjaastad, Gautes gate 12, 7030 Trondheim, Norway. Tel. +47 73 52 52 76, fax +47 73 55 15 39, e-mail


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In a recent, hospital-based report, we described a small series of 5 patients with unilateral, more or less chronic, severe forehead pain, that could be transitorily abated by anaesthetic blockade of the supraorbital nerve and more permanently abated by ‘liberation’ operation directed towards the nerve exit area at the supraorbital notch. However, epidemiological data on supraorbital neuralgia are lacking. Among 1838 18–65-year-old inhabitants in Vågå (88.6% of the eligible ones), there were 10 who presented the following clinical picture: (1) Unilateral forehead/ocular pain, not diagnosed or diagnosable as any other, particular, unilateral headache; (2) Steadfast unilaterality; (3) Increased tenderness upon pressure over the exit site of the supraorbital nerve (incisura frontalis) on that side – in those who were in an active phase; (4) Foregoing trauma in the forehead/supraorbital rim area, ipsilaterally. In approximately half the cases, there was a moderate, ipsilateral sensory loss. A striking finding was the occurrence of jabs in the symptomatic area, and in synchrony with the neuralgia pain. These 10 inhabitants correspond to a prevalence of 0.5% (or 0.65% if two nontrauma cases are included).