Headache and vasculitis

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2013 Mar;17(3):320. doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0320-9.


Although headaches are common in the general population and have many causes, headaches secondary to inflammatory processes in the blood vessels in the Central Nervous System (CNS) are not so common. The most common types of vasculitis that are associated with headaches include primary CNS vasculitis, systemic necrotizing arteritis, granulomatous vasculitis, and systemic collagen diseases. It is important to differentiate between "true" vasculitides and a condition known and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS). While treatment for many of the vasculitides consists of anti-inflammatory medications, this approach may produce significant complications in RCVS. It is up to the clinician to judiciously use imaging and laboratory data to reach the proper diagnosis and therefore offer the correct treatment to these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Collagen Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Collagen Diseases / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders, Primary / diagnosis*
  • Headache Disorders, Primary / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / diagnosis*
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / physiopathology
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / diagnosis*
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / physiopathology