Pain mechanisms underlying vascular headaches. Progress report 1989

M. A. Moskowitz, M. G. Buzzi, D. E. Sakas, M. D. Linnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vascular headaches are among the most prevalent yet poorly understood problems in clinical neurology. Headaches may develop in association with hypertension, seizures, stroke or without a recognizable pathophysiology such as during migraine and cluster headaches. Cephalic blood vessels (pial and dural vessels) are implicated as the most important source for all headaches and are innervated by sensory fibers which arise from ganglia innervating the forehead, scalp and neck. Sensory fibers contain vasoactive neuropeptides which become released from peripheral (perivascular) and central terminations to mediate vasodilation and pain, respectively. The presence of vascular headache implies activation of this final common pain pathway which we have termed the trigeminovascular system. The existence of such a system a) clarifies certain pain patterns which develop following stimulation of cephalic blood vessels, b) suggests a mechanism to explain the referral of pain to the forehead, c) provides a mechanism to explain the action of certain antimigraine drugs, d) suggests a local mechanism which enhances blood flow under certain pathological conditions. Hence, this review will update existing knowledge about the trigeminovascular system and its role in headache pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalRevue Neurologique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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