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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 62-66

Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias: The impersonators

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Agrah Jose
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, The Oxford Dental College, Hosur Road, Bommanahalli, Bengaluru - 560 068, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpn.ijpn_2_19

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Orofacial pain disorders are highly prevalent and debilitating conditions involving the head, face, and neck. Headache is the most common complaint reported to dental and medical practitioners, which manifests as a myriad of neuro-ophthalmologic symptoms, including orbital pain, disturbances of vision, aura, photophobia, lacrimation, conjunctival injection, ptosis, and other manifestations. The differential diagnosis is extensive and includes both primary and secondary headache disorders. The similarity in clinical presentation and diagnostic features is a challenge to the clinicians because of two facts: (a) the orofacial region is complex and (b) pain can arise from many sources. The term “trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs)” includes a group of headache disorders characterized by moderate-to-severe, short-lived head pain in the trigeminal distribution, with accompanying unilateral cranial parasympathetic autonomic features, such as lacrimation, rhinorrhea, conjunctival injection, eyelid edema, and ptosis. TACs include cluster headache (CH), paroxysmal hemicrania (PH), short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks, and hemicrania continua. They are grouped on the basis of their shared clinical features of unilateral headache of varying durations and ipsilateral cranial autonomic symptoms. TACs are rare with the prevalence rate of <1%. The peculiarity of these conditions is their similar clinical presentation and overlapping features. A sound knowledge of TACs is essential for proper diagnosis. Moreover, multidisciplinary approaches for the management of these conditions are strongly recommended. Hence, the aim of this article is to provide an overview of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias.

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