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The Classification

This classification is hierarchical and you must decide how detailed you want to make your diagnosis. This can range from the first-digit level to the fourth. First one gets a rough idea about which group the patient belongs to. Is it for example 1. Migraine or 2. Tension-type headache or 3. Cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias? Then one obtains information allowing a more detailed diagnosis. The desired detail depends on the purpose. In general practice only the first- or second-digit diagnoses are usually applied whilst in specialist practice and headache centres a diagnosis at the third- or fourth-digit levels is appropriate.

Part I: The Primary Headaches

Part II: The Secondary Headaches

Part III: Cranial Neuralgias Central and Primary Facial Pain and Other Headaches

How to Use This Classification

This extensive document is not intended to be learned by heart. Even members of the Headache Classification Subcommittee are unable to remember all of it. It is a document that should be consulted time and time again. In this way you will soon get to know the diagnostic criteria for 1.1 Migraine without aura, 1.2 Migraine with aura, the major subtypes of 2. Tension-type headache, 3.1 Cluster headache and a few others. The rest will remain something to look up. In clinical practice you do not need the classification for the obvious case of migraine or tension-type headache but it is useful when the diagnosis is uncertain. ...
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