Why Are Cluster Migraines Rated as The Worst Headache..

Ice Pick

Cluster migraines are referred to as cluster headaches or "ice pick headaches".

Migraines and cluster headaches have somewhat different symptoms and the treatments may be different. Cluster headaches are the worst headaches ever.  Sufferers may be misdiagnosed at the beginning by doctors that aren't headache specialist and assume their patient has suffered a migraine.

It's said that cluster headache is probably the worst pain that humans experience. I know that’s hard to believe, but if you ask a cluster headache sufferer if they have had a worse experience, they will say they haven't.

Men suffer with cluster headaches more so than women, but women are on top with migraines.

A man we know related his experience to me about cluster headaches. He is about fifty now, has two brothers that do not have them. He said he had been having cluster migraines since he was a teenager. He said as a teenager, he liked to hunt, but if he had a cluster headache attack, he would have to go home. The pain was unbearable. Some said when he had an attack at work he would  hold his head in his hands. But he said they didn't bother him as much as when he was younger.

Cluster headaches compared to migraines.

Symptoms of cluster migraines vs migraines are:

  • Cluster headaches are excruciating  headaches usually around one eye, temple or forehead. The amount of time of the common attack ranges from as short as 15 minutes, to three hours or more. 
  • Migraines are throbbing pain that starts on one side of the head and can spread to both sides, and can last from several hours to a few days.
  • The onset of a cluster attack is rapid,  and most often without the preliminary signs that are characteristic of a migraine. 
  • A tearing or blood shot eye, a drooping eyelid or runny nose often occurs with the cluster headache on the same side. Migraines don't have this symptom. Migraines have nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, and numbness in the hands and face, unlike a cluster headache. Also visual disturbances can be had with migraines.

However, some people report preliminary sensations of pain in the general area of the attack, often referred to as shadows that may warn them an attack is about to start. Though the headaches are almost exclusively unilateral, there're documented  cases of side-shifting between cluster periods, or even rarer, simultaneously (within the same cluster period) bilateral headache.

Triggers for cluster headache vs migraines.


Some triggers for clusters may be the same as migraines but some are different. Cluster headache triggers are:

  • Alcohol should be avoided 
  • Heavy smoking 
  • Certain foods 
  • Changes in sleep pattern 

Triggers for migraines are:

  • Caffeine 
  • Alcohol  
  • Some foods 
  • Certain chemicals 
  • Stress  
  • Birth control pills 
  • Weather changes 
  • Changes in sleep pattern just to name a few.

Prevention of both these types of headaches are eliminating what triggers them. The treatments are also somewhat different with cluster migraines being helped by rapid breathing of pure oxygen for five to around fifteen minutes and certain medicines from the specialist.

People describe the pain of a cluster headache as a red hot poker inserted into the eye, or a spike penetrating from the top of the head, behind one eye, radiating down to the neck. Like having a leg cut off without anesthetic.  The pain of cluster headaches is markedly 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 cause of the disease is currently unknown. But it affects approximately one percent of the population.  

Thanks for reading, we hope this answered the question.

Our next page has more info on cluster migraines and the exact treatment concerning medicine. Our last has information about a visual migraine. Home page from cluster migraines.

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For our Migrane sufferers that may want to seek additional help other than information, there's many products to choose from on Amazon to relieve that headache. You'll be surprised as to how many products are designed for headache relief, from medicine to pillows and so forth. 

Look at the products below and read the reviews. They are all sold on Amazon for  

Even pillows for migraines help tremendously when the pain originates from the neck area. Herbs and Vitamins such as the ones mentioned above are helpful for some sufferers. Most are very inexpensive, and you may find something that will work for your type of headache. All can be found by searching Amazons many headache products. 

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