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The woes of cluster headaches!

Cluster headaches are among the most unpleasant and distressing types of headaches. They’re similar to migraines, in the sense that they are severe in nature too. Let's understand what causes headaches like these and how different they are from other types of headaches. Cluster headaches can be severely painful headaches that occur on one side of the head and usually in clusters. This means a person experiences cycles of headache attacks, followed by headache-free periods.

Usual symptoms of a cluster headache

Cluster headaches cause very intense/severe pain. It typically starts around one eye and then spreads to nearby areas of the face. Each headache lasts for about half an hour to three hours.

Episodes can occur several times a day (in clusters) which are more compared to the other types of headaches. Typical symptoms are-

  • Intense pain around one eye. It usually builds intensity that gradually increases within five minutes. The pain can spread to nearby areas of the cheek or jaw.

  • A bloodshot or tearing eye on the affected side

  • Smaller pupil or droopy eyelid on the affected side

  • Runny nose or blocked nostril on the affected side

what causes headaches like these is uncertain, unfortunately. They tend to occur up to three times a day spanning across four to eight weeks. On the brighter side, once a cluster headache episode passes, a person may remain headache-free for many months or sometimes years.

What triggers cluster headaches?

Most cluster headaches occur during the night and the condition affects men more frequently than women. Some common triggers of cluster headaches are-

  • Alcohol

  • Certain foods, especially those with high amounts of nitrates (bacon for example)

  • Tobacco products

  • Bright lights

  • Hot weather, hot showers or hot baths

Treatment of cluster headaches

So, what do you do when you have cluster headaches? Typically, it's difficult to stop the headache instantly and it usually disappears by the time you receive medical attention. Once the problem has been diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe a therapy for you to keep handy. Also, certain drugs can be effective when used at the beginning of cluster pain. Your doctor might also suggest additional medication to break the cycles or help decrease the frequency of the headaches. There are a whole host of different ways to treat a cluster headache depending on your headache symptoms. You and your doctor may need to try a few different therapies to find out which one works best for you.

SAIN.COMPL.19.12.1512a

Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/accenthealth/ headaches/cluster-headache

the woes of cluster headaches!