What is it?

This type of headache is also called Horton’s Syndrome and can occur several times a day. Cluster Headache is an extremely painful, chronic condition affecting men more than women. The term ‘cluster’ is used as the attacks usually occur in groups or clusters, typically for several weeks once or twice a year at the same time of the year. The cause of cluster headaches is thought to be due to a disorder in part of the brain knows as the hypothalamus.

What causes it?

This kind of headache usually is intense and felt mostly on the sides of the head, usually behind one eye. Reports have shown that the pain can be severe enough to wake someone while asleep, precisely at the same time each night. You will find that the eye on the side where the headache is felt is red and watery. The sufferer’s nose will also be blocked on the same side where the pain is being felt.

Cluster headaches frequently occur during the autumn and spring period. Alcohol combined with high temperatures can cause a cluster headache to be experienced for a long time. When the temperature rises, the body temperature rises making the headache last longer.

Symptoms

Excruciating, boring, burning pain (much more severe than a migraine) localised around one eye

  • Pain very pronounced behind one eye, commonly radiating to the forehead, temple, cheek and upper gum on the same side of the face
  • Drooping of the eyelid, watering eye that may become bloodshot, running or blocked nostril on the affected side
  • Steady rather than throbbing pain
  • Attacks of 15 – 180 minutes
  • 1-3 attacks per day
  • Attacks can occur on consecutive days for 6-8 weeks
  • Remission periods of months to years

Onset of pain about an hour after going to bed.

Interesting facts

This type of a headache is not that common since it affects 1 in every 1,000 people. Men are five times more likely to experience cluster headaches than women. The good thing about cluster headaches is that they do not cause long-term effects on the individual who is suffering. There are remedies available that can reduce the number of headache intensities.

Each cluster lasts about 15 minutes of up to several hours while the prevalent cases last more than an hour.

Cluster Headache Treatment

A specialist medical practitioner should be consulted. Apart from avoiding alcohol during clusters, the main treatment involves taking medication. Medication can be taken either as a preventative or when you feel the headache about to start, though usually a combination of both medications are taken to help individuals manage their conditions. All medications should only be taken under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Preventative treatment

Preventative measures are the best solutions. Short term drugs that are taken for a long term can work though they may have adverse side effects. Examples of these drugs include Corticosteroids, Ergomar and anaesthetics.

Tips and tricks for managing daily activities

  • Avoid taking alcohol when you are experiencing this pain since it triggers prolonged pains.
  • Avoid exercising during the hot weather.
  • Avoid doing anything that causes rise is body temperatures.
  • Avoid smoking as this can trigger cluster headaches.
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