Supraorbital neuralgia. On the clinical manifestations and a possible therapeutic approach

Headache. 1999 Mar;39(3):204-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.1999.3903204.x.


The clinical manifestations of supraorbital neuralgia are apparently only incompletely known. The lack of awareness of this head pain may possibly be due to its rarity and problems with making the diagnosis. In the present work, the long-term result of minor, decompressive surgery of the supraorbital nerve in five patients is reported. The immediate improvement was good and, after a mean observation time of more than 6 years, an improvement of 50% to 100% was observed (mean, circa 85%). In the two patients with the longest postoperative observation time, approximately 8 years, pain has not recurred. The pain was severe, leading to suicidal thoughts in several patients. The long-term course was intermittent or continuous. The pain was generally unilateral, but was bilateral in one patient. Generally, there was lack of, or only minor benefit from drug treatment, including carbamazepine and indomethacin. There was clearly tenderness over the supraorbital nerve, especially at its outlet, and in some subjects occasionally, a slight local loss of sensation. Definite trigger zones were not present. Supraorbital nerve blockade generally provided instant and considerable pain relief. The persistence of protracted unilateral forehead/ocular pain, tenderness over the nerve, and repeated blockade effect strongly suggests the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Female
  • Headache / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / methods
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis*
  • Neuralgia / physiopathology
  • Neuralgia / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carbamazepine
  • Indomethacin