01 June 2019

Mechanism and Comorbidities of Headache and Facial Pain

Course participants attending a lecture

This course will focus on complex pathophysiological mechanisms underlying headache and facial pain disorders, and the role of comorbidities in neurobiology of headache disorders.

We will cover the most important theories/hypotheses, discovery in genetics, strengths and limitations of animal and human studies, animal models of secondary headaches.

The questions addressed will include:

  • What can we learn from headache genetics?
  • What have we learned from headache provocation studies in patients?
  • Can we use brain imaging to discover specific biomarkers of headache disorders?
  • What do we know about mechanisms of action of currently available drugs?
  • What is pathophysiological rationale for using neurostimulation in the treatment of headache disorders?
  • What are molecular mechanisms of mild head injury and medication overuse headache?

You will be appointed a personal mentor
The course is organized as a combination of face-face lectures, group work, case studies, and journal clubs provided and supervised by the world leading specialists in the field. As the Master Program is planned as a part time study, a significant part of the work load is required to be carried out as home work with blended learning and the reading of literature in between the modules. 

A personal mentor will be appointed to each student and there will be provided possibilities for platform based discussion fora between the students and in relation to their mentors.


The course covers the following topics:

  • Genetics of headache disorders
  • Physiology and the disease mechanisms of :
    • migraine headaches, tension-type headaches, cluster headaches and other trigeminal autonomic headaches.
    • medication overuse headache, idiopathic intracranial hypo- and hypertension
    • posttraumatic headache and other secondary headaches
    • trigeminal neuralgia and other cranial neuralgias.
  • Comorbidity and disease interaction.
  • Experimental human and animal models for headache and facial pain. 

What do you gain?

During the course, the participants will gain detailed insights into the existing knowledge about underlying genetic and pathophysiological mechanisms of primary and secondary headache disorders as well as facial pain.

Participants will acquire knowledge about the mechanisms underlying the most common comorbid conditions for headache disorders and their relevance to disease development and treatment. Moreover, participants will acquire knowledge about existing in vitro and in vivo experimental headache models.

Communication based on a well-balanced scientific background
Participants will learn to understand, discuss and critically assess the scientific literature in the area of genetics and disease mechanisms. They will learn to communicate this to patients and their families, as well as to their own colleagues, based on a well-balanced scientific background.

Furthermore, participants will be able to develop a basis for understanding the examination and treatment strategies through insight into disease mechanisms and comorbidity.

On completion of the course, the participants should have acquired the prerequisites for participating in or initiating new scientific investigations of disease mechanisms and treatment. Lastly, participants will be able to optimize the treatment process and contribute to a critical assessment of new treatment strategies on a scientific basis.


Course details
Duration: 5 days at campus

7 December 2020 - 8 January 2021 (e-learning) and 11-15 January 2021 (campus)

Course fee:

EU/EEA citizens: 10,000 DKK
Non-EU/EEA citizens: 15,100 DKK

Credit: 7,5 ECTS
Examination: Exam date 
Application deadline:

Master of Headache Disorders: 1 May 2020
Course: 8 weeks prior to course start

Important: Admission criteria 

Download course curriculum