Headache is a common clinical feature in patients in the emergency room and in general neurology clinics. For physicians not experienced in headache disorders it might be difficult sometimes to decide in which patients neuroimaging is necessary to diagnose an underlying brain pathology and in which patients cerebral imaging is unnecessary. Most patients presenting to the primary-care physician with a nonacute headache and no further neurological signs or symptoms will not be suffering from an underlying serious condition. This review focuses on the main primary headache diseases, including migraine, tension-type headache and cluster headache, as well as frequent secondary headache entities with common clinical presentation and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms to help guide the decision on the utilization of neuroimaging in the diagnostic workup.
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