Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 12:04 pm
Can cluster headaches be cured? At this time, there’s still no foolproof way of curing these debilitating headaches. Keep reading to find out more…
Cluster headaches have no known acute treatment. The pain might come on unexpectedly and disappear quickly. Treatment aims to lessen pain intensity, minimize the cluster periods, and stop episodes. Cluster headaches can be challenging to treat since they require fast-acting drugs. Acute medicine of various kinds can swiftly reduce some discomfort.
Are cluster headaches dangerous?
Cluster headaches are not deadly. Usually, they don’t alter the brain permanently.
You may, however, experience chronic and frequent severe headaches enough to interfere with daily life and work. But as you become older, they could happen less frequently.
Is cluster headache an emergency?
It can be an emergency if you’re having chronic cluster headache. You should consult a healthcare provider who perhaps refers you for tests.
Sometimes a ct scan is necessary to rule out other illnesses that could present with symptoms similar to cluster headaches. After a diagnosis, you may consult a neurologist for further treatment.
Cluster headache symptoms
A strong, abrupt headache is the first sign of a cluster headache. Usually, the headache appears two to three hours after you go to sleep.
However, it can also happen when you are awake. The headache often occurs regularly at the same time of day.
Months may pass between attacks. They can carry on for a year or more without ceasing, or they can alternate with times without headaches (episodic) (chronic).
Pain from cluster headaches typically:
- Sharp, burning, or consistent
- Felt from the neck to the temple on one side of the head, frequently affecting the eye
- The agony is at its greatest within 5 to ten minutes, and the worst moments last two to 30 hours
The following symptoms can occur when the eye and nose are in distress on the same side as the head pain:
- Under- or around-the-eye swelling that may affect both eyes
- A red eye due to clogged blood vessels
- Sagging eyelid
- A stuffy nose on the side of your head where the discomfort is present
- A reddened face and excessive perspiration
What is the main cause of cluster headaches?
Cluster headaches have an unknown exact etiology, according to doctors.
They appear to be connected to the body’s unexpected release of histamine or serotonin.
Histamine is a chemical released during an allergic reaction. Serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells in the vicinity of the trigeminal nerve, a nerve in the face.
The hypothalamus, a little region near the base of the brain, may be having issues.
Men are more prone to the cluster headache attacks than women.
Although the cluster cycle starts at any age, they seem to happen more frequently in middle life and beyond. As a rule, they run in families.
Cluster headaches frequently occur daily and come in bouts that continue for several weeks or months at a time (commonly four to 12 weeks).
Following the remission periods(symptom-free phase), the headaches may go away for weeks, months, or even years before returning.
Cluster headaches frequently strike at the same hour every day. For instance, people get headaches the morning after sleeping for a few hours.
Individuals may get headache cycle every year for several years, and they might last a lifetime. They often occur in the spring and fall, and tend to occur at comparable periods of the year.
The following factors may cause cluster headaches:
- Drinking and smoking
- A lot of trekking and air travel
- Glaring light (including sunlight)
- Exertion (excessive physical activity)
- Heat (hot weather or hot baths)
- Bacon and preserved meats
- Certain medications
Living with cluster headaches
One of the most agonizing forms of headaches are cluster headaches, which manifest in cyclical patterns or cluster periods. This is also known as suicide headaches as they develop suicidal thoughts in patients due to excessive pain.
You may experience severe pain in or near one eye on one side of your head during an episodic cluster headache, which frequently wakes you up in the middle of the night.
The frequency of your cluster headaches can last anywhere from weeks to months and are often followed by remission periods during which the headaches subside. The absence of headaches lasts for weeks, perhaps even months, throughout remission.
Fortunately, cluster attacks are uncommon and not fatal. The headache bouts might be less frequent and severe with the help of treatments.
Cluster headache treatment at home
While drugs and other medical procedures are typically used to treat cluster headaches, there may be preventive treatments you can do at home to lessen or avoid symptoms.
- Magnesium: Some forms of headaches starts due to low magnesium levels. As a result, you could think about adding foods high in magnesium to your diet or taking magnesium supplements.
- Oxygen therapy: Increasing your blood’s oxygen content can relax your body and aid with severe pain management. You may practice deep breathing and light physical exercise at home.
- Capsaicin cream: You may treat the cycle of cluster headaches with counter pain medicines like topical Capsaicin cream. You can use a cotton swab to carefully apply this cream inside your nose.
- Sleep schedule: A increasing amount of research indicates that cluster headache occurrence can decrease by adhering to a regular sleep pattern. This normalizes the circadian rhythms of the body, which may lessen the beginning of attacks.
- Tobacco and alcohol: Using alcohol and tobacco products increases long-lasting headache conditions. It may be advisable for those who get cluster headaches to abstain, especially during more difficult times.
- Record details: Keeping a headache diary can become beneficial for your treatment of cluster headache. This way, you can find trends that might point to causes and boost therapy.
Cluster headache vs migraine
Migraine headaches, known as the worst type of headache pain usually affect one side of the head and cause throbbing. Cluster headaches are uncomfortable, short-lived headaches that repeat over many months, followed by remission lasting up to a few years.
Cluster headache cycle starts for the sufferers every year during the same season.
More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, where cluster headaches afflict about one million individuals.
While the reason behind cluster headaches is not entirely known, it appears to be related to hormones, genetics, or environmental factors in the case of migraine.
A nerve in the face that creates severe pressure around one of the eyes has been connected in research to cluster headaches.
Risk factors of migraines and cluster headaches
Here are the migraine risk factors:
- Alcohol consumption
- Calming down following a traumatic event
- Hormone alterations
- Stress-relieving drugs
- Dietary supplements or food
- Intense physical effort
- Light or sensory stimulation.
Here are the migraine risk factors:
- Men are more prone than women to get cluster headaches
- Between the ages of 20 and 50, cluster headaches are most common
- If you smoke, you run a higher risk of developing cluster headaches
Migraine and cluster headache signs and symptoms
Here are some migraine signs and symptoms:
- Light sensitivity and nausea
- eyesight loss that is momentary
- Up to 72 hours might pass between symptoms
- Body temperature can rise
Here are the cluster headache symptoms:
- Sudden onset of discomfort and severe headache on one side
- moist eyes
- clogged nose
- Although the symptoms last less time than those of a migraine, they can return regularly over the course of a few months
Side effects of cluster headaches and migraines
Here are the migraines side effects:
- Mood swings between pleasure and sadness that hampers your normal routine
- Yearning for food
- A stiff neck
- A rise in urination
- Retention of fluid
- Regular yawning
Here are the cluster headaches side effects:
- Severe pain on one side of head including the eye on the same side
- Nasal congestion
- Red eye
- Pale skin
- Drooping eyelid
Diagnosis of cluster headaches and migraines
Your migraine or cluster headaches will normally be identified by a neurologist after a physical and neurological examination. Your headache specialist will assess the symptoms, get a complete medical and family history, diagnose you, and request more testing.
Treatment for cluster and migraine headaches
There is no known effective treatment for migraines or cluster headaches. Their prevention as well as severity reduction are the main objectives of care.
Your doctor will decide which drug is best for you based on the severity of your symptoms, your general health, and any underlying medical issues. Treatment for cluster headaches must be prompt-acting.
A viable treatment for cluster headache episodes is nasal spray. Your doctor may use intranasal ketamine spray as a therapy for acute cluster headache episodes.
FAQ relating to can cluster headaches be cured
Here are some FAQs relating to the possible cure of cluster headaches:
Do cluster headaches go away?
Cluster headaches have no permanent cure. Doctors can lessen pain intensity, and duration of the headache.
What is the main cause of cluster headaches?
Although the precise cause of cluster headaches is unknown, the cluster headache patterns point to the hypothalamus, the body’s circadian clock, as a potential contributing factor.
Are cluster headaches permanent?
True cluster headaches do not pose a threat to life and do not result in long-term brain damage. However, they frequently interfere with your lifestyle or employment and tend to be chronic and repeated.
How long can cluster headaches last?
Every day, often several times a day, headaches are common during a cluster period.
A single assault may last anywhere between 15 and three hours and the assaults frequently happen every day at the same time.