migraine headaches are more common in women, cluster
headaches are more common in men. The pain, however,
can often be as severe as that of a migraine headache.
Scientists have not yet found the cause of cluster
headaches, but they do know that these headaches
are not related to any other illnesses or diseases,
and they are not hereditary.
There is usually no warning sign that a cluster
headache is about to start. They start suddenly,
and the pain increases quickly. A person may
feel pain and pressure behind one or both eyes,
and the eye may even become red and swollen,
not to mention watery. The nose may also become
red, swollen, and mucous may drain.
Cluster headaches can last anywhere from half
an hour to forty-five minutes or more, but unlike
migraines, they are quickly recurring. The sufferer
will usually experience cluster headaches around
the same time each day for up to eight weeks.
These periods of headaches may be experienced
every few months or so as well. This makes cluster
headaches very scary if the sufferer doesnt
expect it. Often, people think they have a serious
health problem, even though they dont.
However, for sufferers, cluster headaches are
a serious health problem in themselves. The
pain is severe. When one headache ends, they
know that another one will come the next day
or in a few hours. Some people report up to
six or more headaches each and every day of
the cluster period.
While tests are not required to diagnose cluster
headaches, your doctor may suggest them anyway,
just to rule out other serious health problems.
Recurring headaches such as these are often
the sign of neurological problems, and that
does need to be ruled out. It is important that
you tell your doctor how often the headaches
are occurring, the severity of the pain, how
long they last, and what time of the day they
start. You should also discuss what you have
done to try to relieve the pain, what has worked,
and what has not. Your doctor needs all of this
information to better treat you.
Bright light, changes in sleeping patterns,
alcohol, and stress often make cluster headaches
worse, and will only serve to lengthen the period
that the headaches will reoccur, and the severity
of the pain. Like migraine headaches, over the
counter pain reliever may help reduce pain,
but in most cases, you will need prescription
Because cluster headaches often start upon
waking, many sufferers try to avoid sleeping.
This only serves to make the headaches more
intense, and the cluster period to last longer.
So, although your instinct is to avoid the headache
by not sleeping, you are in fact only making
it worse. However, you should avoid sleeping
at unusual times. For instance, if you do not
normally take afternoon naps, dont start
now - even though your drained from yet another
Doctors will often prescribe a medication that
will help reduce the number of headaches during
the cluster period, and you will be told to
take the medication at a certain time of the
day, depending on when your headaches start.
Your doctor may also prescribe an oxygen tank.
Breathing in oxygen in large quantities often
seems to relive the pain for many sufferers.
Because oral medication works very slowly,
and the pain of cluster headaches is severe,
you will most likely be prescribed an inhaler,
an injection, or a rectal suppository. Other
treatments may also be prescribed. One way to
help reduce, and possibly even prevent cluster
headaches is to avoid excessive light by wearing
sunglasses. You can find special sunglasses,
designed specifically for headache sufferers
through Trigger Optics at http://www.triggeroptics.com
Article Reprinted with Permission in it's