Cluster Headaches: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Cluster Headaches: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Cluster headaches are quite short but very painful, attack daily for weeks or months at once. Anyone may be attacked by cluster headaches at the same time every year, for example in fall or spring. Due to the seasonal nature, people with cluster headaches frequently guess allergies symptoms or business stress.

We don't know the exact cluster headaches causes, but a nerve in your face is involved, creating severe pain about your eyes. 

Cluster headaches

At the time of attacking cluster headaches, most people can't sit still. Cluster headaches can be more painful than a migraine, but most commonly it doesn’t last for a long time.

Cluster headaches are the least common types of headache; suffer from .10% of people. Men are suffered more than women do. 

People generally start getting them before 30 years of ages. Cluster headaches may go totally for months or years; however, they may return without any notice.

What Happens?

Cluster headache may happen if an exact nerve route in your brain is triggered. The sign comes from a deeper part of the brain named hypothalamus, where the "internal natural clock" that controls our sleep and wake up phases.

The nerve which affects the trigeminal nerve is responsible for feeling heat or ache in the face. It's around your eye, and its branches up to the forehead, all over the cheek, below the jawline, and above your ear.

An underlying brain condition, for example, a tumor or aneurysm is not responsible for cluster headaches.

Cluster Headaches Features:

There are some matters that set this type of headache is execptional. They are:

Speed: Cluster headaches mostly reach in its full form rapidly -- within 5 or 10 minutes.

Pain: It’s is always one-sided, and attacks on the same side during the same time daily. But exceptionally a new headache might shift to the opposite side. It is frequently a burning or piercing feature. 

It may be aching or continuous. A Person with cluster headaches feels pain behind or about one eye. It may extend to the forehead, nose, cheek, or upper gum. The scalp will be tender. You can frequently feel blood throbbing.

Short Duration: Generally, cluster headaches continue for 30 to 90 minutes. They stay 15 minutes to 3 hours, but afterward, they will vanish. You will probably be attacked 1 to 3 times daily. But some people may get them up to 8 times each day.

Predictable: The attack of cluster headaches may be linked to your body's 24-hour clock. They come so often, commonly at the same time every day that they've been described "alarm clock headaches." Attacks may even wake you up an hour or two after sleeping. Sleeping at night can be more severe than a day.

Frequent: Maximum people usually get cluster headaches for two weeks to 3 months; in between these times, they might be pain-free as a minimum of 2 weeks.

Cluster Headaches Symptoms:

The pain usually starts suddenly. When that happens, you may notice:

  • Distress or a minor burning feeling
  • Sagging or Swollen eye
  • A little acolyte in the eye
  • Red Eye or watering
  • Runny or jammed nose
  • Red, warm face
  • Perspiring
  • Light sensitivity

Smoker or alcoholic person is most likely attacked by cluster headaches. At the time of cluster moment, people get more sensitive to nicotine and alcohol -- only a bit of alcohol can cause a headache.

Cluster Headaches Causes and Triggers:

If you’re in a cluster period, any of these can cause a headache:

  • Smoke nicotine
  • Drinking Alcohol
  • Strong smells

Cluster Headaches Treatments:

There is no complete cure for cluster headaches, but medications, for example, sumatriptan, and other cures, including oxygen therapy, can decrease the occurrence and harshness of cluster headaches.

The purposes of the treatments are to get rid of some of the symptoms, decrease the period of headaches, and their incidence.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, for example, ibuprofen or aspirin is not useful, because the pain starts and finishes very fast that by the time the effect of medicine in the body begins to work, the headache has possibly gone.

Medicines and treatments for cluster headaches aim either to stop them or to turn rapidly.

Fast-Relief Treatments for Cluster Headaches:

Breathing oxygen: Inhaling 100 percent oxygen by a mask at 7 to 10 liters in every minute may bring an effective relief by 15 minutes. You will not need to carry an oxygen cylinder and regulator always, some small elements are available.

Injectable sumatriptan (Imitrex): Triptans can give relief migraines. Sumatriptan works as an agonist for 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) sense organ. It can relieve migraines and provide quick relief from cluster headaches. 

Zolmitriptan (Zomig) is a type of nasal spray, however it only useful for some patients. The adult patient’s dosage is a 6-milligram injection. Two injections can be pushed within 24-hours.

People with high blood pressure or ischemic heart disease should not take this medication.

Dihydroergotamine: This is useful pain relief for a few persons. It can be taken through the vein or breathe in. First of all, a medical expert thinks about giving an intravenous dosage. The inhaling process is useful but slow acting.

Octreotide (Sandostatin, Sandostatin LAR): These are artificial forms of somatostatin, a brain hormone. It is pushed through injection. It is a useful treating option for cluster headaches and regarded as safe for people with high blood pressure or ischemic heart disease.

Lidocaine (Xylocaine) nasal drops: is a useful treatment for cluster headaches.

Surgery for Cluster Headaches:

This will be a treatment option if drugs do not work, or if the person cannot put up with the medicines. But this is exceptional. It is suitable for people with pain on one side of the head.
  
Traditional Surgery: Through this surgical process, the doctor will cut the trigeminal nerve, which serves the part behind and about the eye.

Glycerol Injection: Glycerol is an injecting process into the facial nerves. This useful treatment is securer than other surgical processes.

Preventive Treatments for Cluster Headaches:

People with cluster headaches take short or long-term treatments. If the cluster period is over, the short-term treatments stop; however, the long-term treatments may carry on.
If cluster attacks occur often or last over three weeks, preventive treatments are suggested. The person will take the treatments before starting headaches, and last until the headaches periods end up.

Short-Term Medications for Cluster Headaches:

Corticosteroids: These steroids, such as Prednisone, suppress inflammation. They are rapid-acting protective medicine that works well for the people with new symptoms or those who have long term remission and short term cluster.

Ergotamine (Ergomar): This is a short term narrowing blood vessels in the body. It is applied before going to bed at night, through placing under the tongue or as a rectal suppository. Ergotamine should not be taken with triptans as well as should not be taken for a long time, or a person who has poor circulation.

Anesthetic on the occipital Nerve: Taking anesthetic injection at the back of the head can numb this nerve. Accordingly, pain messages that travel along the nerve pathway are blocked. This treatment should stop as soon as possible, and a long-term preventative medication should start.

Long-Term Medications for Cluster Headaches:

Long-term medications are taken during the cluster period. A number of persons may require long-term treatment.

Calcium channel blockers, for example, verapamil (Verelan, Calan): These are taken at the period of cluster headaches and then slowly tapered off, although some people may require using them a longer period of time. Some side effects of using channel blockers are constipation, nausea, exhaustion, puffy ankles, low blood pressure, and vertigo. If the dosage is increased, regular heart checking will be required.

Lithium carbonate, such as, lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid): these are applied to treat bipolar disorder; it is also useful for stopping chronic cluster headaches. Some Side effects for using these medications are diarrhea, urination, and tremor. The amount of side effects is usually related to dose, which the doctor can change. Blood tests will be checked regularly for possible kidney damage.

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