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What are Cluster Headaches And How Can They be Avoided?

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever experienced a sudden and excruciating pain as if your eyes are about to jump out of their sockets? If these pain episodes occur at the same time within days, or only during certain times of seasons, then most likely, you are suffering from cluster headaches.

A cluster headache is definitely one of the most painful form of headaches but there are many other types of headaches identified by medical experts, such as migraines and the caffeine and the cervicogenic headaches.

It should be noted that people suffering from cluster headaches should not worry that much because this type of headache typically is not arising from another underlying and probably more serious illness.

However, to be safe, a person suffering sudden and sharp headaches more often should still consult the doctor for proper education about this type of headache.

Cluster headache attacks

Cluster headaches were called such because the headache episodes occur frequently and at the same time within periods. For example, a person may experience terrible headache every 2 p.m. of the day for the whole summer. After summer, that person will not feel the headache anymore, until the following summer, when the cluster of headaches start to reappear.

Often, the area affected by the excruciating headache pain is also remain on that particular and same area of the head. It is rare that the center of the pain on cluster headaches transfer to another site or region of the head.

On the next cluster of headache attacks, it is weird and amazing to note that the pain would remain on that site where the pain is excruciatingly felt during the duration of the attacks.

Another striking uniqueness of the cluster headache is its timing and duration. On the average, a cluster headache attack lasts about 45 to 90 minutes. Experts note that attacks also more than often occur at certain times of the day, usually about 1 to 2 in the morning, or between 1 to 3 in the afternoon. Reported cases also occur at about 9 in the evening before the sleeping time of the patient.

Another distinct quality of this type of headache is that it occurs abruptly and also ends as abruptly. The pain is almost unbearable that patients normally scream or bang their heads during attacks. There were cases when patients attempted to commit suicide to free themselves from the suffering led by the painful episodes.

Symptoms of cluster headaches

Aside from those mentioned above, there are also other symptoms that can be indicative of the presence of cluster headache in a person.

A person suffering from the periodic disease experience swelling in the eye area, drooping of the eyelids and runny a\or stuffy nostrils. The patient also exhibit flushed face and his eye pupils are reduced in size.

Restlessness is first and foremost noticeable at the onset of the cluster attacks. Usually, patients experience difficulty in sleeping and are easily annoyed. Thus, these people tend to prefer being alone often.

As symptoms exist, you should make sure to immediately seek expert and medical consultation to be sure. The doctor could prescribe pain relief drugs or recommend techniques about how to alleviate the painful attacks.

Not much can be expected over prevention, because up until now, the real cause behind cluster headaches is still yet to be identified. Currently, researchers believe that such headaches are hereditary, or runs in the bloodline in the family.


Cluster headaches are treatable, but not exactly curable. There are cases when a patient suddenly stops having attacks. On the contrary, there are cases when the attacks get more severe and more often.

To treat cluster headache attacks, you should take the normal dosage of pain relievers. Injections and ointments could also be of good help, as well as occasional sessions with the physical therapist.

There are non-conventional and accidental treatments that have also been proven to prevent cluster headache attacks. Among such is the botox anti-wrinkling beauty injection, which was recently discovered to help prevent the onset of headache episodes for up to six months after administration.

Cluster headaches are really painful. No one wants them. But if you happen to have one, do not worry, because it is not life-threatening, only painful. Just stick to healthy lifestyle, stay away from alcoholic drinks and cigarettes, and you would certainly help yourself avoid the disease.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://headache.topicgiant.com where you can learn more about the cause and treatment of all types of headaches including the cluster headache.
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