Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. Part 1: cluster headache

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Cluster headache is characterized by severe, strictly unilateral pain attacks lasting 15 to 180 minutes localized to orbital, temporal, and midface areas accompanied by ipsilateral autonomic features. It represents 1 of 3 primary headaches classified as trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. While its prevalence is small, it is not uncommon for cluster headache patients to present at dental offices seeking relief for their pain. It is important for oral health care providers to recognize cluster headache and render an accurate diagnosis. This will avoid the pitfall of implementing unnecessary and inappropriate traditional dental treatments in hopes of alleviating this neurovascular pain. The following article is part 1 of a review on trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias and focuses on cluster headache. Aspects of cluster headache including its prevalence and incidence, genetics, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, classification and variants, diagnosis, medical management, and dental considerations are discussed.

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