You are currently viewing Anatomy & Physiology Of Headache Overview [Mnemonic]

Remembering the initial anatomy & physiology of headache is really a headache unless you use the mnemonic : ” PAIN-TRIGEMINO-CORtex systems”

This memory aid which I made during my med years still stands strong today and help you get an intial overview of the topic very well . Hope you never get a headache with this mnemonic

Anatomy & Physiology Of Headache :

  • P – Pain perception is a normal physiologic response
  • A – Activated inappropriately, pain-producing pathways can cause pain
  • I – Intracranial vessels and dura mater are key structures in primary headache
  • N – Nociceptors are stimulated by tissue injury or other factors
  • T – Trigeminal nerve innervates the large intracranial vessels and dura mater
  • R – Rostral pain-processing regions, such as the cortex, are involved in primary headache
  • I – Input from the first and second cervical nerve roots in the trigeminocervical complex
  • G – Modulation of input from the trigeminal nociceptors by pain-modulatory systems in the brain
  • E – Ependyma, choroid plexus, pial veins, and much of the brain parenchyma are not pain-producing
  • M – Migraine and other primary headache types are not “vascular headaches”
  • I – In the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, autonomic symptoms reflect activation of cranial parasympathetic pathways
  • N – Not causative, autonomic symptoms are secondary events in the headache cascade
  • O – Often mistaken for symptoms or signs of cranial sinus inflammation, which is then overdiagnosed and inappropriately managed
  • C – Cranial autonomic symptoms may also be seen in migraine, even in children
  • O – Outcomes cannot be predicted by vascular effects, as migraine is a brain disorder
  • R – Relatively few cranial structures are pain-producing

Mnemonic: PAIN-TRIGEMINO-CORtex systems


Dr. Arin Nandi

Passionate About Medical Science & Helping Future Doctors Achieve Top Ranks In Medical Exams. He is professionally a dentist as well as a public health expert from JIPMER (1), (2)working in health department