Original Editor - Rachael Lowe

Top Contributors - Jo Etherton, Kim Jackson and Evan Thomas


The most recognised classification for headache is from the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) is an in-depth hierarchical classification of headaches containing explicit diagnostic criteria for headache disorders. They classify headaches into primary, secondary, cranial neuralgias and primary facial pain as outlined below:

Primary Headaches

Secondary Headaches

  • Headache attributed to head and/or neck trauma - Cervicogenic Headaches
    • Acute post-traumatic headache
    • Chronic post-traumatic headache
    • Acute headache attributed to whiplash injury
    • Chronic headache attributed to whiplash injury
    • Headache attributed to traumatic intracranial haematoma
    • Headache attributed to other head and/or neck trauma
    • Post-craniotomy headache
  • Headache attributed to cranial or cervical vascular disorder
    • Headache attributed to ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack
    • Headache attributed to non-traumatic intracranial hemorrhage
    • Headache attributed to unruptured vascular malformation
    • Headache attributed to arteritis
    • Carotid or vertebral artery pain
    • Headache attributed to cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT)
    • Headache attributed to other intracranial vascular disorder
  • Headache attributed to non-vascular intracranial disorder
  • Headache attributed to a substance or its withdrawal
  • Headache attributed to infection
  • Headache attributed to disorder of homoeostasis
  • Headache or facial pain attributed to disorder of cranium, neck, eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, teeth, mouth or other facial or cranial structures
  • Headache attributed to psychiatric disorder

Cranial Neuralgias Central and Primary Facial Pain and Other Headaches

  • Cranial neuralgias and central causes of facial pain
  • Other headache, cranial neuralgia, central or primary facial pain


The International Headache Classification (ICHD-2)

WHO Factsheet on Headache Disorders

Epidemiology and Impact of Headache and Migraine