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The International Headache Society (IHS) is the world's membership organisation for all whose professional commitment, whatever their discipline, is to helping people whose lives are affected by headache disorders.Visit the IHS website

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Preface to IHS-ICHD-2 website

Two years after the publication of the 2nd Edition of The International Headache Classification (ICHD-2), we are now ready to launch a web based edition. This web based version has many facilities that are not present in the printed version or a simple electronic file.
Since a Headache Classification cannot be learned by heart, it is of immense value that doctors all over the world are now able to go on the web and look after whatever question they may have regarding ICHD-2.
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Table of Contents

This classification is hierarchical and you must decide how detailed you want to make your diagnosis. This can range from the first-digit level to the fourth. First one gets a rough idea about which group the patient belongs to. Is it for example 1. Migraine or 2. Tension-type headache or 3. Cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias? Then one obtains information allowing a more detailed diagnosis. The desired detail depends on the purpose. In general practice only the first- or second-digit diagnoses are usually applied whilst in specialist practice and headache centres a diagnosis at the third- or fourth-digit levels is appropriate.

How to Use This Classification

This extensive document is not intended to be learned by heart. Even members of the Headache Classification Subcommittee are unable to remember all of it. It is a document that should be consulted time and time again. In this way you will soon get to know the diagnostic criteria for 1.1 Migraine without aura, 1.2 Migraine with aura, the major subtypes of 2. Tension-type headache, 3.1 Cluster headache and a few others. The rest will remain something to look up....
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Additional Resources