Advertising

Cluster Headaches: How To Deal With The Worst Headache

Cluster Headaches: How To Deal With The Worst Headache
Advertising

If you or someone you love suffers from cluster headaches, you probably understand a little about just how debilitating this condition can be and what a huge impact it can have on someone’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are some treatments available that can help to control this pain and help patients and their families lead a full and happy life. Read on to find out more about these excruciating headaches – why they happen and what can be done to resolve the problem.

What is a Cluster Headache?

A cluster headache is the most painful kind of chronic head and earned its name from the clusters or groups of attacks that sufferers can experience during a period of exacerbation.  It is, fortunately, also the least common form of chronic head and only occurs in around 1 out of every 1,000 people.

burnout-268906_1280 (1)

    What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Cluster Headache?

    The primary symptom of a cluster headache is excruciating pain:

    Advertising

    • The pain can be sharp, stabbing or burning
    • It usually centers around one eye or one side of the face, but other parts of the head and neck can also be involved
    • It is common to have cluster periods lasting anywhere from several weeks up to a year; during this time, headaches will come on up to several times a day and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.
    • There appears to be a cyclic nature to the pain and it often will occur at the same time of day or the same time of year; one common time for it to occur is at night around 1-2 hours after going to sleep.
    • These cluster periods can be followed by a period of remission which is free of pain and which lasts anywhere from months to years.

    Apart from the pain, there are other possible symptoms that can accompany a cluster headache. These can include tearing, redness and swelling of the eye on the affected side of the body as well as drooping eyelids and nasal congestion. Sweaty, pale skin and restlessness are also common.

    It’s not exactly what you’re suffering from? Then you need to check if you have one of the following headaches instead and learn about how to deal with it:

    Tension Headache: Understanding Of The Most Common Headache

    Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs

    Advertising

    How To Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine

    How is a Cluster Headache Different from a Migraine?

    People sometimes mistake cluster headaches from migraines, but there are several ways in which cluster headaches are different:

    • Cluster headaches are a less common form of chronic headache
    • Most cluster headache sufferers don’t get an aura, a sight or smell that signals the onset of a headache and most do not get the nausea and sensitivity to light that comes with a migraine
    • Migraine sufferers find it easier to lie down and rest, while this position seems to make a cluster headache worse.

    What Causes Cluster Headaches?

    The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown. However, doctors do know that during an attack, the trigeminal nerve, which runs along the side of the face and around the eye, becomes activated and extremely sensitive.  Many researchers also believe that the underlying cause for this activation lies in some sort of abnormality in the hypothalamus, the small gland which lies in the middle of the brain: the cycles of pain seem to suggest that the problem is linked to a person’s circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycles), which is regulated by this gland.

    Because of the cyclic nature of the cluster headaches, many people mistakenly believe that cluster headaches are related to allergies – but several studies have been done on this subject and no association has been found.

    Advertising

    hands-1283917_1280

      Who is at Risk for Cluster Headaches?

      While anyone can develop cluster headaches, certain risk factors make it more likely that a person will come down with this condition. These risk factors include:

      • Age. People between the ages of 20 and 50 are most likely to develop cluster headaches, but the majority actually begin before age 30.
      • Gender. Men are more likely than women to develop cluster headaches.
      • Family history. Doctors suspect that there might be a genetic component to this problem, since it can run in families.
      • Lifestyle choices. Use of alcohol and tobacco can increase the risk as well.

      syringe-957260_1280

        What can be Done for Cluster Headaches?

        Unfortunately, to date, there is no cure for cluster headaches. The good news?  People today have many more choices than in the past when it comes to day-to-day management of this condition. Treatments can include:

        Advertising

        • Oral medications, like ergots, corticosteroids (which are used for a variety of inflammatory conditions), and lithium (which was originally used for bipolar disorder but has also proven to be effective at treating these headaches).
        • Triptans, the best-known of which is Imitrex, which can be injected or given through a nasal spray.
        • An injectable form of somatostatin, a hormone found naturally in the brain.
        • A block on the trigeminal nerve to cut off feeling in order to stop the pain.
        • Experiments are underway with nerve stimulation of the occipital nerve and deep brain stimulation, but these are still not readily available.
        • Local anesthetics like Lidocaine can also be incredibly useful.

        drinking-water-filter-singapore-1235578_1280

          Are there At-Home or Alternative Treatments Available?

          Many patients who suffer from cluster headaches are curious about what alternative treatments are available to help treat this condition.

          Unfortunately, the small number of studies that have been done on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices, including chiropractic therapy, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture and acupressure have not found these to be effective for the majority of patients. However, some research has been done with supplements of kudzu, a vine of Asian origin, which seem to be able to ease cluster headache symptoms.

          A basic healthy lifestyle with plenty of sleep and good nutrition and adequate hydration are generally supportive, as is the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco.

          Advertising

          In short, cluster headaches can bring excruciating pain and seriously reduce the quality of life for those who suffer from it. There is no cure for this condition, but the good news is that more treatments are available than in the past for treating this condition and help patients to manage the pain and lead full and normal lives.

          More by this author

          Brian Wu

          Health Writer, Author

          Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It Signs You Might Lack Iron (And 9 Iron-Rich Foods for Your Diet) Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It

          Trending in Health

          1 How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 2 How to Sleep Through the Night and Get Good Rest 3 Why You Keep Waking Up in the Middle of the Night (And How to Fix It) 4 Best Water to Drink (The Ultimate Guide to Drink for Better Health) 5 3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on July 12, 2021

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
          Advertising

          Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

          By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

          Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

          83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

            84 write random letter

              85 use a rubberband

                86 dorm smell bad

                  87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                    89 how to waterproof your shoes

                      90 take a picture of the name card

                        91 iron inside out

                          92 old newspaper

                            93 tumble try shoes

                              keep a card like this

                                SONY DSC

                                  94 soap bar

                                    95 make a hole

                                      96 drop the battery

                                        97 use a coozie

                                          98 when taking a picture

                                            use a clean dust pan

                                              try a pants hanger

                                                use your cellphone light

                                                  use a spring from an old pen

                                                    quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                      user binder clips

                                                        wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                          put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                            clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                              use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                doritos are great for kindling

                                                                  use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                    use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                      freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                        use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                          almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                            sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                              unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                  remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                    turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                      for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                        how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                          tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                            place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                              ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                  take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                    how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                      put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                        How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                          user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                            good sandwich guide

                                                                                                              turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                  the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                    add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                      38

                                                                                                                        hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                          stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                            the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                              how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                  use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                    to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                      user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                        a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                          rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                            use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                              50

                                                                                                                                                51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                  52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                    rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                      kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                        use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                          58

                                                                                                                                                            59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                              60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                  Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                    hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                      use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                        if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                          keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                            If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                              drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                  use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                    do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                      when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                        dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                          put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                            75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                              use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                  78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                      80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                        81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                          82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                            99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                              100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More Amazing Life Hacks for An Easier Life

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  50 Top Parenting Tricks and Hacks That Will Make Life Easier And More Fun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Read Next