What is Cluster Headache? Symptoms,Treatment and Complications

If you are suffering from severe pain in 1 side of Head, stuffy Nose and Tear Eye, you might be suffering from Cluster Headache.

What is Cluster Headache?

Cluster Headache is a type of Headache that may affect only 1 side of Skull. The pain may last for a short time or it can also found in cycles that may continue for many weeks or even years. This is an uncommon condition that may affect Almost 1% of total population. Men have higher risk of this disease. Cluster Headache is not very common in women.

This condition is also known as “Suicide Headache”. This pain can force a patient to commit suicide. This Headache is also known as Histamine Headache or Migrainous Headache.

Cluster Headache

Image by : wikimedia

Chronic Cluster Headache

Chronic Cluster Headache is the 1 that continues for more than a year without disappearing for once or resolving for only a very short time like for about less than 2 weeks. It can originate from very start or it can also take place from Episodic Headaches.

Causes of Cluster Headache

The causes of Cluster Headache are not very clear. Many researches have failed to explain the main causes of this disease. Different causes are believed to contribute in this condition. Some of them are as follows

  1. Strong Fragrance

    Perfumes with sharp fragrance like Colognes can also contribute to this irritating Syndrome.

  2. Stress

    Negligible incidents that can lead to stress can also give rise to this disease. It is required to stay comfortable to avoid more complications, when you are already in pain.

    Image by : ian boyd

    Source by : Flickr

  3. Chocolate

    Chocolates like Dark chocolate can enhance this condition. Patients suffering from this disease should avoid food items containing Chocolates like Cakes, drinks, sweets and Toffees etc.

  4. Processed Meats

    Food items that are made of Processed Meats like Sausages, processed Mince can enhance this type of Headache.

  5. Caffeine

    Intake of excessive Caffeine in form of Coffee can originate this Syndrome. Coffee contains very high amount of Caffeine in it, which is an Alkaloid that can lead to such type of Headaches.

  6. Alcohol

    Intake of Alcohol like Red Wine and Beer can also this Headache. Such type of things can create Cluster Headache just within 10 to 15 minutes.

  7. Intensity of  Light

    Bright light contributes to Headache. Patients suffering from Cluster Headache should avoid looking at bright light for a long time because it can lead to an attack of this Syndrome.
    Going out from a dark room to a room with bright light or Sun can enhance this headache.

  8. Tobacco Items

    Tobacco itself does not enhance this condition but the smell of Tobacco can increase the intensity and may extend the period of suffering. The smell of Tobacco contributes to the Cluster Headache.

  9. Changes in Temperature

    If the body is exposed to rapid changes in the temperature, it can also enhance this condition. It normally happens, when persons enter from cool place to warm atmosphere or goes out from a warm place to an Air-conditioned room.

Symptoms of Cluster Headache

Following are the symptoms of Cluster Headache

  1. Pain

    The most important symptom of this disease is pain in Head. The pain can be continuous and it can be very irritating. It can lead to inflammation in Eyes. The Headache affects a person after 2, 3 hours of sleeping. In case of severe pain, pain can last for about ½ to 2 hours.

  2. Rhinorrhea

    Many people who suffer from this disease also have runny Nose. There can be temporary or permanent discharge of Mucus from the Nose of patients.


    Image by : wikimedia

  1. Stuffy Nose

    Due to the absence of Rhinorrhea, patients may suffer from 1 or both Stuffy Nose. Most of the pain the time, stuffiness is felt in that side of Nose where pain arises.

  2. Tears in Eyes

    In this condition, Tears discharge from Eyes of patient and sometimes it also may affect the Vision.

  3. Red Eyes

    Redness is also felt in the Eyes along with the discharge of Tears. Doctors sometimes, diagnose this condition with the help of Redness in Eyes, Redness is felt on the Face too. It is 1 of the main symptoms of Cluster Headache.

Symptoms of Chronic Cluster Headache

If these symptoms arise for about a day and then disappear and the Headache does not finish for years then it is a symptom of Chronic Cluster Headache.

Diagnosis of Cluster Headache

This condition is mostly diagnosed with the physical checkup and the doctor asks the patient about the symptoms. The doctor also considers the medical history of a patient. Following tests are also taken for the diagnosis including

  • Neurological Test
  • MRI of Head

In physical examination, doctor examines the drooping of Pupil or Eyelid at 1 side of Head. This is called as Horner Syndrome. The symptoms of this condition can be found at certain points of the day.

Neurological examination

Image by : wikimedia

Treatment of Cluster Headache

The main intention for the treatment of this disease is to provide relief to the patient from the irritating symptoms. The treatment of Cluster Headache may include:

  1. Oxygen Therapy

    Inhaling pure Oxygen can give relief from such types of Headache. It is 1 of the best cure of Cluster Headache. Oxygen Therapy is good for the patients, who get a Headache at night time.

  2. Injections

    Injections containing drugs can also give relief from this condition. The medicine in Injection can treat the Headache just in 5 minutes.

  3. Anti-Inflammatory Medicines

    Medicines that contain Steroids are used for decreasing the Swelling for many Weeks. High dose of this drug is used in the beginning then it is decreased with the passage of time.

  4. Anti-Seizure Medicines

    Anti-Seizure medicines are used to prevent the Seizures in the patients.

    These treatments are used to decrease the irritating symptoms of this condition like Pain, Inflammation, tear discharge and Seizures etc.

Surgery for Cluster Headache

Sometimes, medications don’t help to improve this condition, in this type of situation; surgery is used for treatment of Headache. Surgery is done on specific Nerve cells inside the Brain.

Prognosis of Cluster Headache

It is not a life-threatening disease but sometimes, it can cause very irritating situations. If this disease is not treated in time, the extreme pain can force a person to commit self-harm. If this condition is treated in time, it can resolve in just few days or few weeks. This condition can recur in many cases too.

Complications in Cluster Headache

Following are the complications in Cluster Headache

  • Horner Syndrome
  • Permanent pain in Muscles
  • Permanent pain in Face
  • Decreased sensation in Head
  • Decreased sensation in Face
Horner's syndrome

Image by : wikipedia

Prevention of Cluster Headache

This disease can be prevented by avoiding all those food items that may contribute to Headache. It is required to perform Meditation for decreasing Stress and avoid quick changes in temperature.

If you or anyone around you is experiencing symptoms of this disease, first try home remedies to get rid of irritating symptoms but if this Headache does not resolve, then consult a doctor as soon as possible. This will help you to treat this disease, avoid complications and early recovery.

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