What Is A Cluster Headache And What Are Its Symptoms?

You feel it coming on – or maybe you don’t. Often appearing suddenly in the middle of the night, that stabbing pain behind your eye feels like a jackhammer just went off inside your head. Thankfully, they don’t last long, but while they do, cluster headaches are brutal on those who suffer them. So what is a cluster headache anyway?

One of the most agonizing kind of headaches, the Cluster Headache occurs in a repeated pattern within a period of time. The headache happens on one side of the head and lasts as long as 4 to 12 weeks typically striking once every 2 days with severe cases reporting almost 8 times in one day. The pain is most intense during the initial 15-20 minutes and it takes almost an hour for the sufferer to get back to normal.

When Cluster Headaches happen, the sufferer finds it difficult staying still and starts moving around from the pain. In some documented cases, individuals have resorted to banging their heads on the wall. The extreme pain is even considered by some to be something much more serious like a tumor, but those are really rare occurrences.

What Are The Causes And Cures For cluster Headaches?

Cluster Headaches are uncommon, affecting only 1 in 1000 people. They are more severe than the usual migraines. They affect more men than women and are active in people who are regular smokers. The exact origin of cluster headaches remains unknown with recent research suggesting over-activity of the brain being one of the causes for the extreme pain. Other reasons for triggering the headaches include strong smells, alcohol and an overheated environment.

How Are Cluster Headaches Treated?

Due to the sheer intensity of symptoms, it is very difficult to cure Cluster Headaches by just the intake of regular, over-the-counter medicines which are often found to be ineffective. There are other treatments for Cluster Headaches that can alleviate the pain. These include:

  • Oxygen Therapy: Although this treatment does not work for everybody, it is very effective and works quickly when 100% pure oxygen is used. No one is sure exactly why it works but 5 to 10 minutes of oxygen therapy relieves cluster headaches for a lot of people.
  • Zolmitriptan Nasal Spray: This triptan medication takes effect in about 15 minutes, faster than an oral medication but more slowly than a shot.
  • Sumatriptan Injection: This is also a triptan medicine and is an alternative to the Zolmitriptan nasal spray. It relieves pain faster than nasal spray and usually treats the headache about 5 minutes.

General physicians commonly do not treat cluster headaches. Choose specialists for treatments of such headaches if you or a loved one are suffering. The National Headache Institute with its advanced research backing and expert team of doctors offers treatment for all types of headaches. Our aim is to help you get long-term relief through careful diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Call us at 305.440.5969 and put an end to the vicious cycle of cluster headaches or use our contact form to book a consultation.