Cluster-like Headache Secondary to Focal Cervical Myelitis

Authors:  Kim, Dong-Eun MD; Park, Ji-Yun MD; Ha, Hyeonuk MD; Yoon, Geum-Jin MD; Cho, Bang-Hoon MD; Lee, Seung-Han MD, PhD
Source: NeurologistJuly 2017 – Volume 22 – Issue 4 – p 138–140


Background: Cluster headache (CH) is characterized by attacks of severe periorbital pain associated with autonomic symptoms. As with other forms of primary headache, structural lesions should be excluded, particularly if the headache presents with an atypical pattern.

Case: We report a 41-year-old woman who had no previous history of primary headache and showed a poor response to medication for CH. The patient was finally diagnosed as secondary headache with CH feature due to focal myelitis at the cervical level of the spinal cord. A strong positive Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay test for Toxocara canis antibodies helped us to make a diagnosis of cervical Toxocara myelitis. After starting treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone and albendazole, her headache gradually improved with abortive and preventive treatment for CH.

Conclusions: We suggest that neuroimaging of the upper cervical cord as well as the brain is important when CH is showing an atypical clinical course. Cervical Toxocara myelitis might be a possible cause of secondary headache with CH feature.

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