Headache in the Tolosa-Hunt Syndrome

What is Tolosa-Hunt Syndrome?

Tolosa-Hunt syndrome is defined as a pain in the area around the eye or a headache on one side, combined with a deficit of the nerves supplying the eye muscles, incorrect functioning of the pupil and numbness in the part of the face supplied by the first and second branches of the trigeminal nerve. Other nerves of the head may also be affected.


Tolosa-Hunt syndrome usually starts after an accident, but it may also be caused by abnormalities of the blood vessels, tumours or inflammations within the skull or at the back of the eye socket.

Signs and symptoms

Patients usually complain of a piercing pain around an eye, which may be followed by paralysis of the eye muscles (the muscles that move the eye). The pain may radiate to the forehead and the temple. The complaints may last for days or weeks, and may resolve spontaneously, after which nerve deficits often remain, such as paralysis of the eye muscles. The attacks can return, after symptom-free periods lasting months or years.

How is Tolosa-Hunt Syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis is based on the pattern of the patient's symptoms. Patients always have to have an extensive general physical and neurological examination, concentrating on the nerves of the head.

Do I need additional examinations?

What are my treatment possibilities?

Physical Treatments

The treatment is dependent on what cause is found for the Tolosa-Hunt Syndrome.


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