What Are Cluster Headaches and How Can You Treat Them?

cluster headache treatment

Cluster headaches are among the most painful types of headaches. Usually, they affect only one side of your head or the area around one of your eyes. These headaches occur in cyclical patterns, and they typically awaken you in the middle of the night.

Cluster periods can sometimes last for weeks or even months, while the remission period may sometimes last for years. Let’s find out more about the causes, symptoms, and possible cluster headache treatment.

Causes

When the blood vessels that supply blood to your face and brain widen, it puts pressure on the trigeminal nerve. This nerve commonly sends signals and sensations from your face to your brain. It is widely believed that the hypothalamus, a part of your brain which regulates your sleep, blood pressure, and body temperature, can be responsible for cluster headaches.

Symptoms

Cluster headaches usually come suddenly, without any warning. The most common symptoms include severe, one-sided pain which often may be accompanied by a stuffy or runny nose, eye redness, excessive tearing, drooping eyelids, and swelling around the eye on the affected side.

Treatment

Unfortunately, the science has no cluster headache treatment available. This condition can’t be cured, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the severity of the pain and the other accompanying symptoms.

Acute instances may be relieved by breathing 100 percent oxygen through a mask or injecting medications such as triptans, octreotide, and dihydroergotamine. Local anesthetics may sometimes help relieve the pain.

Preventive cluster headache treatment includes the use of melatonin, lithium carbonate, nerve blocks, corticosteroids, and calcium channel blockers.

Conclusion

Cluster headaches are very severe regarding sheer pain and, unfortunately, cannot be cured. Certain medications can only be used to reduce the intensity of the accompanying symptoms.