The neuralgias: diagnosis and management.

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The neuralgias are characterized by pain in the distribution of a cranial or cervical nerve. While most often brief, severe, and paroxysmal, continuous neuropathic pain may occur. The most commonly encountered entities include trigeminal, postherpetic, glossopharyngeal, and occipital neuralgia. More unusual cranial neuralgias may occur in periorbital (eg, supraorbital neuralgia) and auricular (eg, nervus intermedius neuralgia) distributions. These disorders may be mimicked by structural and inflammatory/infectious neurologic disease, along with other primary headache disorders (eg, primary stabbing headache). The approach to diagnosis and treatment of this group of headache disorders is reviewed.

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