Cluster headaches are known to be the most agonizing types of head pains. The illness develops in cyclical models and disturbs the patient during sleep with a strong pain in the eye in some part of the head. Long-drawn-out spasms, namely cluster phases, continue from several weeks to some months.
Usually there may be a long remission period when the head pain stops for a few months or annums. However, the attacks may erupt at any moment due to emotional moments or stress consequences. Luckily, cluster migraines are infrequent and not dangerous for life. Thanks to modern medicine progress there is an opportunity to facilitate the headaches and make them far shorter. Besides, the number of attacks may be minimized.
Cluster headache symptoms
Generally, cluster headaches develop spontaneously, still firstly you might experience common head pains, including other resembling features:
- torturous ache which is often located in some part of the eye, but can emanate from other parts of the head, face or neck;
- extreme nervousness;
- reddening of the sore eye;
- cold in the head;
- heavy facial sweating;
- lopsided ache;
- eye swelling;
- walking, sitting or pitching to and fro;
- light or sound sensitivity.
Cluster headache causes
A lot of people are curious about what is the main cause of cluster headaches. Actually, there isn’t an exact reason for this sickness. However, according to the specialists, hypothalamus anomalies may influence a human’s organism and end up with cluster pattern headaches. Contrary to alike conditions such as migraines, cluster headaches are not followed by spontaneous impulses, like hormonal disbalance, stress and food passion. When first cluster headache symptoms appear, alcohol can definitely aggravate the situation. Hence, strong drinks are prohibited to people suffering from this illness. Also, this disorder might be provoked by taking improper medicines like nitroglycerin or others, used in heart curing.
- Gender. Male are believed to develop cluster migraines twice as often as female.
- Tobacco use. Smokers have more chances to experience regular cluster attacks, although giving up a bad habit may not always be a solution.
- Alcohol. Abusing strong drinks increases the probability of getting such headache types.
- Age. Mostly, the disease occurs between 20 to 50 years, however, people of some other age groups may notice such changes.
- Heredity. If your family members have ever experienced cluster headaches, you might be in danger.
Cluster headaches treatment
If you are experiencing cluster attacks or alike disorders you should immediately visit a specialist. The doctor will define cluster headache causes and prescribe the most effective medication. You shouldn’t turn a blind eye to regular painful headaches, because they may indicate the first sign of various serious disorders, including aneurysm, brain tumor, possible strokes and other conditions. Moreover, if you have faced constant head pains before, visit a professional if their character has suddenly changed.
There are different ways how to treat cluster headaches. With the help of a scheduled physical therapy course this illness can be defeated. Due to the therapists, a stable exercise program can help you get rid of excruciating and annoying head spasms. By selecting an individual plan for each patient, there is an opportunity to fully examine the reasons for the condition’s development and ways of its handling. Cluster headaches treatment will contribute to stress alleviation, head attacks decrease and general body state improvement.
FAQ about Cluster Headaches
What is the main cause of cluster headaches?
Despite a large amount of research, the cause of cluster headaches remains unclear. It is assumed that the rhythmic occurrence of painful periods is associated with the activity of the hypothalamus — a region of the brain called the “biological clock” and determining the change in biological and circadian rhythms in the human body. An interesting fact is that, according to statistics, most patients who suffer from these conditions smoke a lot or have smoked in the past. The attitude of smoking to the onset of this illness is still unknown. Nevertheless, giving up such a bad habit as smoking is always beneficial to health.
How do you stop cluster headaches?
There are several effective treatments for this disorder, however, they all require a medical prescription. For eliminating the attack, the most effective method is inhalation of 100% oxygen, which requires special equipment, including a mask, a dispenser for flow, O2 concentrator and an O2 reservoir. Also, in treating cluster headaches specialists use injections of the sumatriptan medicine, which you can carry out by yourself using a special injection device. Other forms of triptan release are less effective, but can also be used to relieve the attack.
Preventive treatment is known to be the best solution to dealing with cluster headaches. To prevent clusters and reduce the duration of attacks and disease at all, medications should be taken daily throughout the entire pain beam. In most cases, preventive therapy is effective, however, it requires careful medical supervision, including monitoring of blood tests, due to the possibility of side effects. The therapist or neurologist you contact when your painful period begins, may refer the patient to a headache specialist, as due to the excruciating nature of the headache, patients who suffer from clusters have to receive specialized care.
Are cluster headaches dangerous?
Fortunately, the disease is not life-threatening. Due to statistics, this type of headache is rarely observed in patients. Nevertheless, if you experience clusters, a proper treatment can shorten the attacks and make them less severe. Moreover, various medicines may decrease the frequency of clusters. Finally, there are several preventive medications available. If some of them are ineffective, there are a lot of other drugs that may be used to help you. Though cluster headaches can recur over many years, most people show improvement through age (a decrease in the number of cluster periods or their termination), this is especially typical of the chronic variant of a cluster headache.
How does a cluster headache feel?
The symptoms of cluster headaches are well recognizable. One of the main signals is the excruciating, intolerable nature of the pain. The pain always comes on one side; rarely, with an episodic form of the disease, the side of pain may change from one painful period to another.
The headache is localized around or in the area of the eye and is described as burning and dagger. The painful feeling grows rapidly, reaches a maximum within 5-10 minutes and, if untreated, lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours (an average of 30-60 minutes). In contrast to a migraine attack, when most patients tend to lie down and remain as calm as possible, patients with clusters, on the contrary, can neither sit nor lie down, become agitated and restless.
Also, most patients experience redness of the eye, watery eyes, swelling and sometimes drooping of the upper eyelid on the side of pain. Moreover, there may be nasal congestion, or a clear secretion from the nose on the side of the pain. At the same time, the other side of the head does not bother the patient at all.