Extratrigeminal Cluster Headache


Ninan T. Mathew, M.D., Houston Headache Clinic, 1213 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004



Three cases with periodicity and pain profile characteristic of episodic cluster headache, whose headaches were solely confined to the regions of the head and neck outside the trigeminal territory, are reported. Two were females, who had associated nausea and vomiting with severe attacks. The male patient exhibited autonomic symptoms in the eye during the attacks. Alcohol induced headache in one. All three patients responded to anticluster headache therapy.

These cases are illustrative of a wider spectrum of clinical manifestations of cluster headache than was originally recognized. They question the theory that cluster headache may be due to a lesion involving the cavernous sinus. One the other hand, it points to involvement of a more complex pain circuit consisting of upper cervical nerves, posterior fossa innervation, trigeminal system and the autonomic pathways.