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The International Headache Society (IHS) is the world's membership organisation for all whose professional commitment, whatever their discipline, is to helping people whose lives are affected by headache disorders.Visit the IHS website

Preface to IHS-ICHD-2 website

Two years after the publication of the 2nd Edition of The International Headache Classification (ICHD-2), we are now ready to launch a web based edition. This web based version has many facilities that are not present in the printed version or a simple electronic file.
Since a Headache Classification cannot be learned by heart, it is of immense value that doctors all over the world are now able to go on the web and look after whatever question they may have regarding ICHD-2.

Preface to the Second Edition

Jes Olesen, Chairman of the Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society

Disease classifications and their diagnostic criteria are often received with scepticism by the medical community and may not be put to extensive use. It has therefore been a pleasant surprise to see how well the first edition of The International Classification of Headache Disorders was received. It is important for any field of medicine to have a generally-accepted classification that is used throughout the world. This is particularly true for headache as a young and developing field and because there is so much prejudice against headache disorders. ...

Introduction to the Classification

This second edition of The International Classification of Headache Disorders, like the first, is intended equally for research and for clinical practice. This second edition has not changed the major principles of the classification and diagnosis of primary headache disorders. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition, is perhaps the single most important document to read for doctors taking an interest in the diagnosis and management of headache patients.

How to Use This Classification

This extensive document is not intended to be learned by heart. Even members of the Headache Classification Subcommittee are unable to remember all of it. It is a document that should be consulted time and time again. In this way you will soon get to know the diagnostic criteria for 1.1 Migraine without aura, 1.2 Migraine with aura, the major subtypes of 2. Tension-type headache, 3.1 Cluster headache and a few others. The rest will remain something to look up....

The IHS Headache Classification Subcommittee

The aims of the Classification Subcommittee are to prepare and from time to time revise the International Classification of Headache Disorders, setting out explicit diagnostic criteria that are evidence-based as far as knowledge allows and promoting nosological research wherever it is needed. In order to secure that the next generation of headache researchers be sufficiently represented a major replacement of membership took place when work on the revision of the first edition of the IHS headache classification document started in 2000.