UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Headache and Facial Pain


Researching headache and facial pain pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapeutics


  Dr Manjit Matharu

Research Team

Research Goals

  • To understand the underlying mechanisms of headache and facial pain disorders
  • To understand the genetic basis of headache and facial pain disorder
  • To define the clinical spectrum of headache and facial pain disorders, systematically studying their clinical phenotypes, and thereby improve the classification of these disorders
  • To develop a self-management programme for chronic headache disorders
  • To advance therapeutics by conducting controlled trials in headache and facial pain syndromes
  • To develop and improve innovative surgical and neuromodulatory treatments for headache and facial pain disorders

Funded Research Projects

  • Chronic Headache Education and Self-Management Study (CHESS). Collaborative study with Warwick University. Funded by National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)
  • Cluster Headache Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS). Funded by Brain Research Trust
  • Synaptopathies Study. Funded by Wellcome Trust
  • Occipital Nerve Stimulation in Primary Headache Syndromes. Funded by St Jude Medical
  • Nasal Cavity Cooling for the symptomatic relief of migraine (BrainCool-Migraine) study. Collaborative study with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Funded by BrainCool AB


Recent publications from Headache and Facial Pain


Tso AR, Brudfors M, Danno D, Grangeon L, Cheema S, Matharu M, Nachev P
Machine phenotyping of cluster headache and its response to verapamil
Brain, 23 November 2020

Stubberud A, Tronvik E, Matharu M
Treatment of SUNCT/SUNA, Paroxysmal Hemicrania, and Hemicrania Continua: An Update Including Single-Arm Meta-analyses
Current Treatment Options in Neurology 22(12):11 Nov 2020

D'Antona L, Craven CL, Merchan MAJ, Thompson SD, Bremner F, Thorne L, Matharu M, Watkins L, Toma A
Paradoxical response of intracranial pressure to shunt valve setting adjustments
Acta Neurochirurgica: the European journal of neurosurgery 01 Oct 2020 162, pages2451–2458(2020)

Lagrata S, Cheema S, Watkins L, Matharu M
Long-Term Outcomes of Occipital Nerve Stimulation for New Daily Persistent Headache With Migrainous Features
Neuromodulation, 30 Sep 2020

Crespi J, Bratbak D, Dodick DW, Matharu M, Solheim O, Gulati S, Berntsen EM, Tronvik E.  Open-label, multi-dose, pilot safety study of injection of Onabotulinumtoxin A toward the otic ganglion for the treatment of intractable chronic cluster headache.   Headache, online 25th June 2020

D'Antona, Craven CL, Merchan MAJ, Thompson SD, Bremner F, Thorne L, Matharu M, Watkins L, Toma A.  Paradoxical response of intracranial pressure to shunt valve setting adjustments. Acta Neurochirurgica: the European Journal of Neurosurgery, online 11th June 2020

Grangeon L, O'Connor E, Chan C-K, Akijian L, Pham Ngoc TM, Matharu MS.  New insights in post-traumatic headache with cluster headache phenotype: a cohort study.  Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, online 7th May 2020

O'Connor E, Simpson BS, Houlden H, Vandrovcova J, Matharu M.  Prevalence of familial cluster headache:  a review and meta-analysis.  The Journal of Headache and Pain, 21(1); 27

Patel S, Achana F, Carnes D, Eldridge S, Ellard DR, Griffiths F, Haywood K, Hee SW, Mistry D, Mistry H, Nichols VP, Petrou S, Pincus T, Potter R, Sandhu HK, Stewart K, Taylor S, Underwood M, Matharu M.  Usual care and self-management support programme versus usual care and a relaxation programme for people living with chronic headache disorders:  a randomised controlled trial protocol (CHESS).  BMJ Open 10(4):e033520 12 Apr 2020
Stubberud A, Cheema S, Tronvik E, Matharu M.  Nutcracker syndrome mimicking new daily persistent headache: A case report.  Cephalalgia 333102420918554 15 Apr 2020 


Akram H, Matharu M, Zrinzo L. Optimal deep brain stimulation site and target connectivity for chronic cluster headache-author response. Neurology 2018; 91(4):194.

Davies PTG, Lane RJM, Astbury T, Fontebasso M, Murphy J, Matharu M. The long and winding road: the journey taken by headache sufferers in search of help. Primary Health Care Research and Development 2018 online.

Skljarevski V, Matharu M, Millen BA, Ossipov MH, Kim BK, Yang JY. Efficacy and safety of galcanezumab for the prevention of episodic migraine: results of the EVOLVE-2 Phase 3 randomized controlled clinical trial. Cephalalgia 2018; 38(8): 1442-1454.

Crespi J, Bratbak D, Dodick D, Matharu M, Jamtøy KA, Aschehoug I, Tronvik E. Measurement and implications of the distance between the sphenopalatine ganglion and nasal mucosa: a neuroimaging study. The Journal of Headache and Pain 2018; 19(1):14.


Matharu MS, Miller S, Lagrata S, Watkins L.  Occipital nerve stimulation for medically refractory chronic paroxysmal hemicrania.  Headache 2017; 57(10):1610-1613. DOI: 10.1111/head.13187

Akram H, Miller S, Lagrata S, Hariz M, Ashburner J, Behrens T, Matharu M, Zrinzo L.  Optimal deep brain stimulation site and target connectivity for chronic cluster headache.  Neurology 2017; 89(20): 2083-2091.  DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004646

Hassan S, Lagrata S, Levy A, Matharu M, Zrinzo L.  Microvascular decompression or neuromodulation in patients with SUNCT and trigeminal neurovascular conflict?    Cephalalgia, online 4 October 2017. DOI:10.1177/0333102417735847

Probyn K, Bowers H, Mistry D, Caldwell F, Underwood M, Patel S, et al. Non-pharmacological self-management for people living with migraine or tension-type headache: a systematic review including analysis of intervention components. BMJ Open. 2017;7(8):e016670. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016670.

Matharu M, Pascual J, Nilsson Remahl I, Straube A, Lum A, Davar G, Odom D, Bennett L, Proctor C, Gutierrez L et al. Utilization and safety of onabotulinumtoxinA for the prophylactic treatment of chronic migraine from an observational study in Europe. Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache online 31 July 2017 doi: 10.1177/0333102417724150. [Epub ahead of print]

Matharu M, Halker R, Pozo-Rosich P, DeGryse R, Manack Adams A, Aurora SK. The impact of onabotulinumtoxinA on severe headache days: PREEMPT 56-week pooled analysis. The Journal of Headache and Pain 2017; 18(1):78 doi: 10.1186/s10194-017-0784-4. Epub 2017 Aug 1.

Miller S, Watkins L, Matharu M. Long-term follow up of intractable chronic short lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache disorders treated with occipital nerve stimulation. Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache, online 14 July 2017 doi: 10.1177/0333102417721716. [Epub ahead of print]

Miller S, Matharu M. Non-invasive neuromodulation in primary headaches. Current Pain and Headache Reports 2017; 21(3) doi: 10.1007/s11916-017-0608-x.

Miller S, Watkins L, Matharu MS. Treatment of intractable hemicrania continua by occipital nerve stimulation. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, online 2 March 2017 doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2017-315747. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Miller S, Watkins L, Matharu M. Treatment of intractable chronic cluster headache by occipital nerve stimulation: a cohort of 51 patients. European Journal of Neurology, online 1 February 2017 doi: 10.1111/ene.13215. Epub 2016 Dec 20.

Abu Bakar N, Torkamani M, Tanprawate S, Lambru G, Matharu M, Jahanshahi M. The development and validation of the Cluster Headache Quality of life scale (CHQ). J Headache Pain. 2016 Dec;17(1):79. doi: 10.1186/s10194-016-0674-1. Epub 2016 Sep 5.


Miller S, Akram H, Lagrata S, Hariz M, Zrinzo L, Matharu M. Ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in refractory short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks. Brain. 2016 Oct;139(Pt 10):2631-2640. doi:10.1093/brain/aww204

Miller S, Sinclair AJ, Davies B, Matharu M. Neurostimulation in the treatment of primary headaches. Pract Neurol. 2016 Oct;16(5):362-75. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2015-001298. Epub 2016 May 5. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2015-001298. Epub 2016 May 5.

Miller S, Watkins L, Matharu M. Long-term outcomes of occipital nerve stimulation for chronic migraine: a cohort of 53 patients. J Headache Pain. 2016 Dec;17(1):68. doi: 10.1186/s10194-016-0659-0. Epub 2016 Jul 30.

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