Cluster Headache Differential Diagnoses

Updated: May 13, 2021
  • Author: Michelle Blanda, MD; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

In addition to the conditions listed in the differential diagnosis, other problems than cluster headache (CH) to be considered include the following:

  • Acute hypertension (including response to pressors, pheochromocytoma, and preeclampsia)

  • Allergen exposure

  • Arteriovenous malformations

  • Brainstem syndromes

  • Cerebral venous thrombosis [14]

  • Connective tissue disorder (eg, systemic lupus erythematosus)

  • Cyclical migraine

  • Eye disorders (eg, acute optic neuritis and acute glaucoma)

  • Hemicrania (continual or paroxysmal)

  • Ice-pick headaches

  • Intracranial neoplasm

  • Intracranial trauma

  • Interior carotid artery dissection

  • Intermittent hydrocephalus

  • Metastatic lung carcinoma

  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

  • Malignant and nonmalignant pain syndromes

  • Medication adverse effect

  • Pituitary tumors

  • Raeder paratrigeminal syndrome

  • Sleep apnea headache

  • SUNA (short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with cranial autonomic symptoms)

  • SUNCT (short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing)

  • Vertebral artery aneurysm

Differential Diagnoses