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What Is the Definition of a Cluster Headache?

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Cluster headaches are a type of severe pain that rarely occurs in humans. This type of disease often occurs in groups or clusters. This is where the disease got its name from.

Fortunately, in modern times there are medical approaches that can successfully treat or alleviate the condition of patients. First of all, this is achieved in a complex through medication, therapy and sometimes with the help of surgery. There is evidence that therapy as a lifestyle change has a positive effect on the condition of people. This includes avoiding stressful situations and significantly reducing the amount of alcohol consumed.

Most often, this type of disease occurs in adult men. Women are the least affected by this disease. Children are even less so. Unfortunately, it is not known for certain what exactly causes these pains. Many experts believe that the matter is in the trigeminal nerve, which goes from the brain to the face. Fortunately, cluster migraine is not contagious and cannot be transmitted like the flu.

Scientists distinguish two types of the disease:

  • Episodic.
  • Chronic.

The first happens in cycles. This means that the patient experiences pain in one period of life and lives without pain in another one.

The second type is accompanied by literally daily pain and has no remission. With such a disease, a person cannot function normally and feels constant fatigue.

 

What Provokes Cluster Headaches?

What provokes cluster headaches

Many different factors may provoke them. These include:

  • Alcohol.
  • Caffeine.
  • Cheeses.
  • Chocolate.
  • Nitrates (found in some processed meats).
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Aspartame.
  • Bright lights.
  • Strong smells.

Cluster headache attacks may also be triggered by changes in sleep patterns or interruption of the body’s natural circadian rhythms. They have been linked to smoking as triggers and as possible factors for developing the condition.

Therefore, if you want to stay healthy and not have problems with your body, you need to maintain a proper sleep pattern of 7 to 9 hours a day, as well as consume the right food and try to get rid of bad habits. Of course, nothing will happen to you if you sometimes eat junk food or don’t sleep well a couple of days a week, but everything should have a proper dose.

 

What Is the Range of Cluster Headaches Symptoms?

Unfortunately, cluster headaches do not give clear signs of when the acute phase will be and can begin suddenly at any time. However, sometimes people may feel nauseous, similar to a migraine. Some people who have lived for many years with this pain have learned to roughly determine the onset of an attack and can prepare for it.

What is the range of cluster headaches symptoms

Among the most famous symptoms of the disease are known:

  • Severe headache on one side of the head. It is often described as burning or piercing like a needle.
  • Lachrymation of the eye on the same side as the pain.
  • Stuffiness in the same place where the pain appears.
  • Swelling of the eye from the side of pain.
  • Increased sensitivity to light or sound.

In terms of pain intensity, people often describe cluster pain as the worst they have ever experienced. This is also illustrated by YouTube videos of people having a pain attack and recording their reactions.

The disease often occurs in people who smoke or drink alcohol a lot. If the patient has a cluster stage, alcohol and smoking are contraindicated for him, as they can be triggers. If the acute phase is not observed, alcohol and cigarettes can be consumed, as they will not provoke relapses. However, their amount must be reduced.

All cluster migraines are excruciating and debilitating. An attack can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. However, the most frequent cases last 30 minutes.

Cluster periods last both a week and months. And attacks can occur 1 or 3 times a day. They can be so severe that they wake a person from sleep and can lead to suicide, because it is unbearably.

 

What Are the Main Cluster Headache Causes?

The exact causes of cluster headaches are not known. However, they have been linked to several different factors, including:

  • Changes in brain chemistry: cluster headaches have been linked to abnormalities in certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and histamine. Cluster headaches may also be associated with changes in blood flow to the brain.
  • Family history: cluster headaches tend to run in families, which suggests that they may have a genetic component.
  • Hormonal changes: cluster headaches are more common in men than women and sometimes occur during puberty or pregnancy. This suggests that hormones may play a role in the development of this condition.

 

What Are the Possible Complications of Cluster Headaches?

Cluster headaches can often be quite debilitating. They can interfere with work, school, and social activities. In some cases, they can lead to depression or anxiety. If you experience cluster headaches, you must talk to your doctor about managing the condition and minimizing its impact on your life.

Cluster headaches can also be associated with many serious complications, including:

  • Subdural hematoma: cluster headaches have been linked to an increased risk of subdural hematoma, a condition in which blood accumulates outside the brain.
  • Anterior cerebral artery aneurysm: cluster headaches have also been linked to an increased risk of anterior cerebral artery aneurysms, a condition in which the artery wall weakens and bulges.
  • Meningitis: cluster headaches have been linked to an increased risk of meningitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain.
  • Eyestrain: cluster headaches can cause eyestrain, leading to vision problems.

It can be a difficult condition to manage. If you experience a headache, you must talk to your doctor about the best way to treat it. 

 

You can read about how does lifestyle affect headaches in our other article.

 

How Are Cluster Headaches Diagnosed?

Cluster headaches are usually diagnosed based on the pattern of headaches and a person’s symptoms. Your doctor may also perform some tests to rule out other possible causes of your headaches.

 

Can Cluster Headaches Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, this disease cannot be prevented. However, doctors have many preventive measures that can significantly improve the patient’s condition and lead him to the stage of remission.

 

Ways of Treatment Cluster Headache

Ways of treatment cluster headache

There is no cure for cluster headaches, but there are treatments that can help lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. Some people find relief with over-the-counter pain medications, while others may require prescription medications or other therapies. 

There are many different treatment options available, and the best approach for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the frequency of your attacks. Cluster headaches can be treated with: 

  • Medication. 
  • Lifestyle changes.
  • A combination of both.

Cluster headaches can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are treatments available that can help to reduce the pain and frequency of pain

 

Medication for Cluster Headaches

Some different medications can be used to treat cluster headaches. These include:

  • Pain relievers: over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to relieve the pain of cluster headaches.
  • Triptans: cluster headaches are often treated with triptans, a class of drugs that includes sumatriptan (Imitrex) and zolmitriptan (Zomig). Triptans work by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain, which can help to relieve the pain of cluster headaches.
  • Ergotamines: cluster headaches may also be treated with ergotamines, a class of drugs that includes caffeine. Ergotamines can help to constrict the blood vessels around the brain, which can reduce the pain.
  • Steroids: they are another great way to get rid of cluster headaches. For example, prednisone. Steroids can help reduce inflammation and swelling around the brain, relieving cluster headaches‘ pain.
  • Anti-seizure medications: cluster headaches have been linked to seizures, and cluster headache sufferers may be treated with anti-seizure medications such as topiramate (Topamax) or valproate (Depakote).

Your further condition and therapy depends on the correctness of medication choice for cluster headaches. Therefore, it is important for you to monitor your symptoms and accurately describe them to your doctor. Only this approach will significantly increase the chances of a better result.

 

Lifestyle Changes

You don’t even know what the strong impact your daily habits and activities have. Perhaps even the slightest sound of the refrigerator, the frequencies you do not notice, can significantly affect your state and feeling. 

Maybe because of some small detail, you are constantly tired and cannot find the strength to pull yourself together and do things. In practice, there have been many cases when a person changed his habits and environment, and his condition improved significantly.

 

Some lifestyle changes that can help to prevent or reduce the frequency of headaches right behind eyes. These include:

  • Avoiding triggers: cluster headaches often occur in response to specific stimuli, such as alcohol, tobacco, or bright lights. If you experience cluster headaches, it is crucial to avoid these triggers if possible.
  • Managing stress: stress can trigger cluster headaches and make them worse. If you experience it, finding ways to manage stress is essential. This may include relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
  • Getting enough sleep: cluster headaches often occur when people are sleep deprived. It is vital to get enough rest if you experience this condition.
  • Exercising: cluster headaches have been linked to a sedentary lifestyle, and exercise can help to prevent them. If you experience cluster headaches, it is essential to get regular exercise.
  • Eating a healthy diet: headache right behind eyes have been linked to specific dietary triggers, such as caffeine and MSG. To get rid of these triggers, you should consider a healthy diet.

As you can see, one side headaches are a severe disease that is extremely difficult to cure. In addition, this disease can significantly affect your life and cause irreparable harm. The disease can have different forms and consequences. 

 

Therefore, with such a disease, receiving timely and high-quality help is important. To do this, you can contact our clinic, and professional doctors will take care of you. Just call 214-619-1910 or use the feedback button. After that, you will receive all the answers to your questions and be able to think clearly and live in joy.

Remember that self-medication can be dangerous for your health, so only an expert in the field of medicine will be able to provide the necessary assistance and make the correct diagnosis. Following the doctor’s recommendations can improve your condition or completely cure the disease.

 

FAQs 

  • How does a person feel during a migraine?

The pain is often moderate to the severe throbbing sensation that worsens with movement and hinders you from performing daily tasks. In certain circumstances, you may have discomfort on both sides of your head and your face or neck.

  • What is the main cause of cluster headaches?

The exact cause of cluster headaches is uncertain. They have, however, been linked to activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. Smokers tend to be at a higher risk of cluster headaches.

  • Are cluster headaches serious?

Cluster headaches are not lethal, but they can cause excruciating pain and impair your quality of life. Because they work too slowly, over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol are useless for cluster headaches. You will instead require one or more specialist treatments.

  • Do cluster headaches ever go away?

Cluster headaches can be a lifelong condition for most people, with remission periods increasing with age. To reduce the severity and frequency of severe headaches, three sections of therapy are commonly started at the same time.

  • Which patient is more likely to have a cluster headache?

Men are more likely to suffer from cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are most frequent in those aged 20 to 50, but the illness can attack at any age.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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