Cluster Headaches and Treatments

The cluster headache is a malady that affects just 69 out of 100,000 people in the population-much fewer than those who suffer from migraines, sinus headaches, or one of the many other types of headaches. This is probably why it was not really recognized by the medical community until the last 150 years or so and is still largely misunderstood. Over the course of time there have been many different names attributed to these headaches including erythroprosopalgia, spenopalatine neuralgia, ciliary neuralgia, Rader’s syndrome, vidian neuralgia, and histamine cephalalgia.

Headaches are quite common. Everybody gets them, albeit some are more severe than others and some can indicate something more severe. Everyone has had them – sinus and allergy headaches, migraines, etc… This article will answer the questions of what causes them and how we should treat them

Cluster headaches are rare headaches that often occur in groups or clusters and are frequently associated with drooping eyelids, red, watery eyes and nasal congestion on the affected side of the face. This is also characterized by severe headaches of piercing quality near one eye or temple that last for between fifteen minutes to three hours.

Cluster Headache Symptoms include;

• One-Sided Pain nearly always

• Pain stays on one side.

• Pain may start of other side when new cluster headache starts.

• Localized pain, behind eye or in eye area, forehead, temple, nose, cheek or gums of affected side.

• Pupil may contract or eyelid becomes swollen or droops.

• Nostril of affected side may become congested

• Nasal discharge or watering of eye on the side of pain.

• Face may become flush

Cluster Headaches Treatment

It’s said that migraines are very painful but a cluster headaches can top this. Cluster headaches are also sometimes described as “suicide headaches” because of their sudden and extremely painful attacks which can last anywhere between five minutes and three hours. Another disturbance is the fact, that cluster headaches often come in the night at the same time, waking you up with a severe pain. The pain is usually unilateral behind or above the eye and often goes together with other symptoms like a dropped eyelid, pupil changes and nasal congestion.

As cluster headaches often happen the same time each day there is also the theory that they are caused by a hypothalamus abnormality. The hypothalamus controls our biological clock.

At this day there aren’t many options to treat cluster headaches. One of the best abortive treatment is the inhalation of 100% oxygen. When you use pure oxygen the headache can go away in as little as 5 minutes. The downside is that you need to have oxygen ready at any time.