Symptoms and Signs of Cluster Headaches

    Cluster headache is a pain that occurs one side of the head. It’s frequently described as pain that occurs around, behind, or above the eye and along the temple in cyclic patterns or clusters.

    Pain of a cluster headache is very severe. Many of the patients has “drilling” type of sensation. Also cluster headache, associated with autonomic features such as tearing/watering of the eye, redness of the conjunctiva, rhinorrhea or nasal stuffiness, eyelid drooping, sweating on one side of the face, or changes in pupil size (with the pupil on the affected side becoming notably smaller) are usually present.

    Who gets Cluster Headaches?

    Males has two to four times more to develop cluster headache than females.However, the overall frequency is quite low, with a prevalence rate of about 1 per 1,000.

    Symptoms and signs of Cluster Headaches?

    Cluster headache is always unilateral, or one-sided. However, some of the patients may experience some variability of the side on which their headache occurs. Most of the patients describe their pain as occurring around or behind the eye. Pain can be described as radiating it along the forehead, into the jaw or along the gum line and into the teeth, or across the cheek of the affected side. Infrequently, pain may be extended into the ear, neck, or shoulder. Also, watering (tearing) of the eye is frequently identified, some patients may only experience some redness of the conjunctiva.

    Eyelid drooping or swelling and a runny nose (rhinorrhea) might often associated with the pain of a cluster headache. Symptoms of cluster headaches more commonly identified with migraine headaches, including sensitivity to light, sounds, or odors may occur. Unlike migraine headache, movement does not worsen the pain of a cluster headache.

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    What causes Cluster Headaches?

    The specific cause of the cluster headaches isn’t known. But MRI may suggest dilation of the ophthalmic artery during this acute cluster headache, while PET scans reveal activity within the cavernous sinus. However, many of the patients with other headache types may have revealed abnormalities in similar regions, so these tests aren’t definitive. There is an evidence that the hypothalamus may involved in the recurrence cycle of cluster headaches.

    Treatment for Cluster Headaches

    Most successful ways to treat the pain are for a shot of sumatriptan (Imitrex) and breathing oxygen through a face mask for 20 minutes. Other drugs are used for migraines which is called as triptans may work. Prescription medicines will be based on the ergot fungus and also lidocaine nasal spray might be help. Need to take preventive medicine, unless if the  headache periods last less than 2 weeks. Then the  neurology doctor can prescribe medication to shorten the length of the cluster as well as lessen the severity of the attacks, which  includes in the following:
    • Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
    • Ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot, Ergomar)
    • Lithium
    • Prednisone, for a short time
    • Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)