Cluster headaches are severe headaches that occur on the head on one side in groups called “clusters.” They typically last for several months or even weeks. Cluster headache is among the most painful headaches that a person might suffer from. It’s a rare kind of headache, and it’s estimated that one out of 1000 has it. It’s more common among males than females. It usually begins at the age of late 30s or 40s. The primary symptoms are a painful headache located on one side of the forehead, typically in the area around the eyes. You can consult one of the top hospitals in Coimbatore if you tend to be in the area for headache treatment.
Types of Cluster Headache
- Episodic Cluster Headache:
Episodic cluster headaches frequently occur between one week to one year. Then a period of headache-free time for a month or more.
- Chronic Cluster Headache:
Chronic cluster headaches can be seen frequently for more than a year. They are then followed by a period of headache-free lasting less than a month.
How Do Cluster Headaches Happen
- The discomfort of cluster headaches is due to the dilation or enlargement of the blood vessels which provide blood to your face and brain. The dilation causes pressure on the trigeminal nerve, transmitting pain signals from your face into the brain. It is not known what causes this dilation.
- Researchers suspect that abnormalities in the hypothalamus region, a small brain area that regulates body temperature, sleep, blood pressure, and hormone release, could cause Cluster Headaches.
- Cluster Headaches can be caused due to the rapid release from the chemical called histamine. Cluster headaches could also be called histamine headaches.
- Smokers seem to be at a greater risk of suffering from cluster headaches. The attacks of cluster headaches can be caused by drinking alcohol or strong odors like paint, perfume, or petrol.
- A few people who experience cluster headaches also have relatives who suffer from these headaches, suggesting a genetic connection.
How to Differentiate from Normal Headache Vs Cluster Headaches
1. Cluster headache is a severe headache, often described as burning, or piercing. It is often experienced quickly, usually without warning, affecting only one part of your head. cluster headache is generally found in the area around or behind the eye. This headache causes discomfort and anxiety to the people who experience this. People usually sway, roll around or even hold their heads. This is different from many migraine sufferers who like their heads to remain still when experiencing an attack.
2. The duration of attacks is usually between 15 minutes and 3 hours. Some people experience multiple episodes in a day, up to eight per day for certain people. Many people experience attacks that begin at night and might wake up at the end of the night. And very often, at the same time each night.
3. Some suffer from symptoms of nausea as well as sensitivity cluster headaches. A few people suffer from the aura. However, this is considered to be rare. The pain is usually relieved abruptly. The majority of people are pain-free but tired after an attack.
Diagnosing Cluster Headache
There isn’t a test for cluster headache. A physician will often diagnose by looking into the causes and symptoms of headaches. Taking patients to further tests, including examining the brain for confirmation of a second reason. This could involve using an MRI or CT scan of your brain to rule out any other causes for headaches, for example, a brain tumor.
There isn’t a solution for cluster headaches. However, you have treatments that could make them less painful. The treatment options are:
- If you can get to the doctor early enough, there are various efficient ways to get rid of the symptoms of a cluster headache. Your cluster headaches specialists may offer injections or sprays for nasal use. The healthcare provider could also give oxygen via masks.
2. Prescription medication can reduce the cycle of headaches. They also can make headaches less painful.
3. Surgeons have tried surgery for headache clusters. However, they’ve had little results in stopping these. Researchers are currently testing more advanced treatments to determine whether they work. One treatment involves gentle electrical stimulation of the neck. Another option is to stimulate electrical stimulation by placing medical devices over the gums on the upper side.
Cluster Headache Prevention
There isn’t any solution to cluster headaches; however, making certain lifestyle adjustments can help decrease the frequency of headaches.
- Your circadian rhythm may be improved if you maintain a consistent sleeping schedule. Studies suggest that keeping regular sleep patterns can cause fewer headaches.
2. Smokers are more likely to experience cluster headaches more often when compared to non-smokers. Even though quitting smoking won’t stop completely, it can be an assistance in improving the body’s sleep patterns and nervous system responses. The process of quitting smoking can be challenging, but it’s doable.
3. If you’re suffering from headaches, drinking alcohol can cause headaches to develop. It would be best to limit your alcohol consumption to stop this from happening. Reach out to a top neurologist in Coimbatore and avail the right treatment.
4. Engaging in daily physical activity, like cardiovascular exercise, could improve the blood flow to the brain. It can also decrease stress and allow you to rest better.
The sufferers of cluster headaches are typically referred to a specialist neurologist for an examination and cluster headache treatment.