Symptoms related to cluster headaches are agonizing so much so that these headaches can even awaken a person from his/her sleep. The pain causes in cyclic patterns like 1-3 headaches on a daily basis and it can continue for 2-3 months. The headache then disappears completely as you go into remission and remission lasts for few months or even couple of years.
Symptoms and causes of cluster headaches
Cluster headaches occur rarely, aren’t life-threatening still very intense. The headache appears suddenly without any warning. The symptoms are
- Reduced size of pupil
- Swelling around your eye
- Runny nose or congestion
- Redness of the eye on the side which is affected or excessive tearing
- Difficulty in closing the eyelid (affected area)
Cluster headaches do not last for more than 15 minutes and rarely continue for a few hours. However they are agonizing and very intense. The pain ends as fast as it begins. After the attack the person becomes pain free but exhausted.
Some people report nausea, sensitivity to sound, light or an aura as symptoms of cluster headaches. The exact cause of cluster headaches is still not known but it is believed that it may occur due to hypothalamus abnormalities. Cluster headaches are also influenced due to change in season and they occur in spring the most. These headaches are also triggered because of alcohol consumption.
An individual should consult the doctor immediately upon experiencing such type of headache to know the cause. Though cluster headaches are severe but do not occur as a result of serious disease, but some conditions like aneurysm and brain tumor seem to be like cluster headaches.
A detailed diagnosis is based on the characteristics of your headaches, pain type and pattern of attacks. A medical physician may conduct blood tests, MRI, CT scan etc., cluster headaches have no cure and treatment is given to reduce the pain severity and duration of pain attacks and duration of period during which the cluster headache occurs.
OPT medications like ibuprofen and aspirin sometimes aren’t effective as the headaches occur suddenly and stop within a short time span, not leaving a single second for the drug to show its effect. There are some treatment that act fast to provide pain relief as well.
Other medications that are used as preventive therapy and used to suppress the attach the very moment It begins. Your physician may prescribe.
- Lithium carbonate
- Calan, Verelan
- Nerve block
Some people who do not want to take medications or do not get relief with standard treatment often go for surgery that helps blocking trigeminal nerve. You should know all about cluster headaches so that when you visit your doctor you should be able to discuss in detail with your doctor and getting all tests done as per doctor’s advice will be helpful to know if the headache is a cluster headache or the reason is different that you need to know.