A disorder characterized by recurrent unilateral brief electric shock-like pains, abrupt in onset and termination, limited to the distribution of one or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve and triggered by innocuous stimuli. It may develop without apparent cause or be due to another diagnosed disorder. There may or may not be, additionally, persistent background facial pain of moderate intensity.

Diagnostic criteria:
A. At least three attacks of unilateral facial pain fulfilling criteria B and C
B. Occurring in one or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve, with no radiation beyond the trigeminal distribution
C. Pain has at least three of the following four characteristics:

  1. recurring in paroxysmal attacks lasting from a fraction of a second to 2 min
  2. severe intensity
  3. electric shock-like, shooting, stabbing or sharp in quality
  4. precipitated by innocuous stimuli to the affected side of the face

D. No clinically evident neurological deficit2
E. Not better accounted for by another ICHD-3 diagnosis.


Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS) (2013). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia 2013; 33: 9-807.

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