Cluster headaches are a neurological disease that involves a great deal of pain.
The duration of this headache ranges from as short as fifteen minutes, to three hours or more. An attack is rapid, and most often without the symptoms that a migraine has. But they are often diagnosed as migraine headaches. The pain of clusters is much greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraines, and experts believe that it may be the most severe pain known to medical science.
The symptoms of a cluster-headache are:
These features are known as the autonomic symptoms.
Cluster migraines/headaches are also associated with restlessness. Pacing the room or rocking back and forth isn't unusual.
Less frequently symptoms of clusters are:
Nausea rarely accompanies cluster headaches, unlike migraines. Cluster headaches are occasionally referred to as alarm clock headaches, because they wake a person from sleep, and because of the regularity of the attacks striking at a precise time of day. Morning or night is typical, even at the same time a week later.
Cluster headaches are episodic or chronic.
About ten to fifteen percent of headache sufferers have chronic cluster migraine/headaches. Clusters can change from chronic to episodic, and from episodic to chronic. No attacks could be had for decades, then they could start up again.
Triggers that could cause cluster headache attacks are:
Treatments for cluster-headaches
The medications to treat clusters are classified as either:
Pain medications such as aspirin, and ibuprofen have no effect on the pain from cluster headaches. Abortive treatments only decrease the duration of the headache, and keeps it from reaching its peak, rather than eliminating it entirely. Preventive treatment is always given for clusters, to be started at the first sign of a new cluster cycle.
Clusters often go undiagnosed for many years. They are confused with migraine or other types of headaches. Because of the extreme, and often debilitating pain associated with them, a severe attack is nevertheless treated as a medical emergency by doctors who are familiar with the condition.
I read an article was printed about a man that had clusters, and was suffering severe headaches. His DR gave him pure oxygen, and he said that the more he used it, the less often his head hurt, until it stopped. If you don't keep oxygen with you, ask about it.
Once an attack is at its peak, oxygen therapy appears to have little effect, so most people have an oxygen provider close by.
The top treatment for clusters is administration of triptan drugs. The injectable form of sumatriptan has been shown to abort a cluster headache within fifteen minutes in ninety six percent of cases. While these oral medicines are effective, they can be expensive.
Thanks for reading
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