Chronic Unilateral Headache Related to Scar Neuromas

Karen S. Ferreira, Jose G. Speciali


Postcraniotomy and posttraumatic headaches can result in scars generating local pain or referred pain following a neuropathic pattern. One hypothesis is that the pain can be caused and maintained by scar neuromas, developed after the nerve injury during the surgical process or trauma. This study reports two patients with chronic unilateral headaches: the first one with a posttraumatic scar in the parietal region and the other with a postsurgical scar in the mastoid region. In both patients, the headache was ipsilateral to the scar, suggesting primary headaches (trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC), as hemicrania continua and chronic cluster headache). Pharmacological treatment for these conditions failed. Instead, there was complete remission of the headache with anesthetic blockade of scar neuromas (demonstrated by clinical examination in both patients). An active search for traumatic or nontraumatic scars is recommended in all patients with refractory unilateral headaches, and anesthetic blocks for scar neuromas can be effective in treating this pain.

J Med Cases. 2023;14(6):217-221


Headache; Neuropathic pain; Nerve block; Chronic pain

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