Objective/background: Some headache syndromes have few cases reported in the literature. Their clinical characteristics, pathogenesis, and treatment may have not been completely defined. They may not actually be uncommon but rather under-recognized and/or underreported.
Methods: A literature review of unusual headache syndromes, searching PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge, was performed. After deciding which disorders to study, relevant publications in scientific journals, including original articles, reviews, meeting abstracts, and letters or correspondences to the editors were searched.
Findings: This paper reviewed the clinical characteristics, the pathogenesis, the diagnosis, and the treatment of five interesting and unusual headache syndromes: exploding head syndrome, red ear syndrome, neck-tongue syndrome, nummular headache, and cardiac cephalgia.
Conclusions: Recognizing some unusual headaches, either primary or secondary, may be a challenge for many non-headache specialist physicians. It is important to study them because the correct diagnosis may result in specific treatments that may improve the quality of life of these patients, and this can even be life saving.
© 2013 American Headache Society.