Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania-like Headaches in a Child: Response to a Headache Diary


Address all correspondence to Dr. Joseph M. Dooley, Division of Neurology, Isaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital, 5850 University Avenue, Halifax, NS, B3J 3G9, Canada.


Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania and cluster headache are both characterized by recurrent, severe, unilateral headaches accompanied by symptoms and signs of autonomic dysfunction. They are differentiated by the frequency, duration, and medication responsiveness of the headaches. Both occur in childhood, although such reports are rare.

A 6-year-old boy presented with chronic paroxysmal hemicrania-like headaches. Through the use of a headache diary, his headaches were found to follow stressful events and resolved shortly after the introduction of the diary.

Precipitation of chronic paroxysmal hemicrania-like headaches by stress has not been previously reported. We recommend the use of a headache diary as both an aid to diagnosis and an initial nonpharmacological therapeutic intervention for children with such headaches.