Cluster Migraine is Called Ice Pick Headaches...

Migraine

Cluster migraines are also called cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches can come in groups or clusters of one to five a day everyday, for weeks to months. They can hurt for months but then months or sometimes years can go by without the cluster headache pain. Rather strange, wouldn't you say?

Although women out number men when it comes to getting migraines, the roles are reversed when it comes to cluster headaches. Somewhere around five to one, men leading on this headache.

These headaches were called suicide headaches (ice pick headaches) years ago, and for good reason. If you've talked to anyone (we have) that is plagued with cluster headaches, the migraine headaches take a back seat, if that's possible.

Be aware that if a child has cluster headache symptoms, don't rule out clusters because you think he or she is to young. Cluster headaches effect more than one million adults, and children in the USA. But the number of children that are stricken are unknown.


Here's what the Diamond Headache Clinic said about cluster headaches in children.

We see only two or three children a year with cluster headaches. They are significantly different from most migraine syndromes as they affect mostly males. There have been reports of adolescent cluster headache patents, and the youngest was about four years old. As in migraines where a family history may be present, a family history of clusters is very unusual.

Also, one of the effective treatments for this type of headache is inhalation of oxygen, even for children. Rapid breathing of pure oxygen for five to fifteen minutes may help this headache. The oxygen acts to constrict the blood vessels, and that will lessen and sometimes eliminate the pain.


Two types of cluster migraines experienced.

If these headaches hurt for weeks or months, than not a sign of them for months to even years then:

  • Episodic cluster headaches would be the type of cluster headache that's had.

But if this describes them!!!

  • Attacks for up to a year with pain free periods up to around fourteen days, then chronic cluster headaches is the culprit.

A part of the brain that is said to be the clock, or better know as the hypothalamus may be responsible for the regularity of the cluster attacks. It's also noted that it's difficult to work during an attack, and due to the terrible pain is considered a medical emergency.

Symptoms of a cluster migraine:

  • Pain that is centered around one side of the head, and most of the time around the eye, temple, or one side of the forehead. 
  • The pain could be sharp, stabbing, steady, and burning. 
  • Eyes may tear or be bloodshot!! 
  • The nose could run on the same side as the head pain.
  •  An eyelid could droop. 
  • Cluster headaches can last anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of hours.

Headache triggers/causes of this type of headache.

Although certain foods can be blamed in certain individuals, it seems that this type of migraine headache doesn't like alcohol, or heavy smoking. I read an article one time about a man that was plagued with cluster migraines, and when he quit smoking, he said that the headaches stopped. So if you smoke that's something to give some thought to.

Also, changes in sleep habits, just as in migraines, may cause/trigger cluster headaches.

For the prevention of cluster migraines it appears that some of the same migraine triggers may also trigger cluster headaches. Avoid, like we said above, alcohol, and also keep sleep patterns the same, and try to quit smoking if that applies, and see if there's relief from the attacks.

Cluster headaches are a type of headache that needs the attention of a headache specialist. Don't suffer with these headaches when there's help for the pain and the frequency of the attacks.


Preventive treatment should be started as soon as you develop this type of headache. Some medicines that are used are Verapamil, Lithium, Topamax, Melatonin, and Divalproex sodium. And one of the best abortive's are the triptans for the pain.

As in migraines, taking care of oneself and taking supplements such as vitamins, and even herbs such as feverfew and butterbur may take the edge off cluster headaches. Our last page was about a migraine connected to the eye called an ocular migraine. Home page from cluster migraine.

Thanks for reading

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