Clinical considerations on side-locked unilaterality in long-lasting primary headaches

M. Leone, D. D'Amico, F. Frediani, W. Torri, O. Sjaastad, G. Bussone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relevance of side-locked unilateral pain (with no side shift) in diagnosing and differentiating primary long-lasting cephalgias such as tension headache and migraine is not clear. In the present study we have retrospectively examined the frequency of side-locked unilaterality in 1169 primary headache outpatients, whose pain duration was more than four hours. The cases were migraine (66%), tension-type headache (21%) and non- classifiable headache and atypical facial pain (not well defined headaches) (13%). The occurrence of side-locked unilateral pain was more frequent in migraine (17%) than tension headache (4%). However side-locked pain was found to be more frequent in patients with not-well-defined head pain (28%). Of the 1169 patients, 181 (15%) had side-locked unilateral pain: 70% of the 181 had migraine, 25% were not-well-defined head pain cases and 5% were tension-type headache cases. The high percentage of migraine cases in the side-locked unilateral group reflects the high proportion of migraine patients in the studied population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-384
Number of pages4
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • 'cervicogenic headache'
  • migraine
  • nonclassifiable headache
  • side-locked unilateral headache
  • tension headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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