Cluster Headache: Health & Wellness Resource
Cluster headaches are intense, recurring head- and eye-pain episodes that occur in cycles. They are the most painful type of headache and often strike at night.
Cluster headache is not a common disorder.
Cluster headache is not a common disorder. The National Institutes of Health estimates that approximately 0.2% of the population suffers from cluster headaches, although this number may be higher because some patients with cluster headaches don’t seek treatment and therefore aren’t included in these statistics. Cluster headaches are more common in men than women, and they tend to occur at a younger age than migraines do—the average age at first onset is between 20 and 30 years old. People who have family members with cluster headaches are more likely to develop them themselves.
Specifically, a genetic predisposition for the disorder has been linked with both familial aggregation and a greater risk for developing chronic daily attacks (CDA). For example, if one member of a family has chronic daily attacks then all other members of that same family have an increased risk as well (Karp et al., 2014).
The cause of cluster headache is unknown.
One of the biggest myths about cluster headaches is that they are caused by a brain tumor. This simply isn’t true. Cluster headache is not caused by a stroke or an infection in the brain either.
Cluster headaches occur in otherwise healthy people, which means that something about their brains is different from those who don’t suffer with these headaches. However, there isn’t enough evidence to say what exactly causes them yet.
Cluster headache may occur in a series of attacks (cluster periods).
Cluster headaches may occur in a series of attacks (cluster periods). The pain of a cluster headache is usually intense, but it only lasts 15 minutes to three hours.
Cluster headache often follows a normal pattern and can occur at predictable times each year.
Cluster headache often follows a normal pattern and can occur at predictable times each year. In most people, cluster periods tend to occur in the spring and autumn. These particular times of the year are often referred to as the “cluster season.”
The length of each cluster period may vary from person to person but is usually no more than 4 weeks. In some cases, however, clusters can last for several months or even a year or longer without interruption. Cluster headaches may also be triggered by alcohol consumption; stress; hormonal changes; or sleep deprivation (for example, staying up late on weekends).
A cluster period may last for several months and then disappear completely, only to recur several months later.
A cluster period may last for several months and then disappear completely, only to recur several months later. Cluster periods usually occur in cycles that can last from one to three years or more. Although the frequency of attacks varies from person to person, on average an individual has about one attack a day during each cluster period. Some people experience clusters lasting four or five days, while others may have clusters lasting for two weeks or longer.
Most people experience only one cycle of clusters in their lifetime but some may go through several cycles over many years.
People with cluster headache occasionally experience bouts of remission lasting as long as several years.
Cluster headaches are episodic.
People who have cluster headaches experience regular periods of remission alternating with periods when they experience clusters of attacks. The frequency and severity of these episodes can vary greatly. Many people with cluster headaches report that their symptoms completely disappear for weeks or months at a time, only to be replaced by shorter periods during which the headaches occur more frequently and more severely than before. Some people have remissions lasting as long as several years, while others go from attack to attack within days or weeks.
The hallmark of cluster headache is recurring intense headaches, usually on one side of the head.
The hallmark of cluster headache is recurring intense headaches, usually on one side of the head. The pain can be described as a deep, boring ache or a sharp, burning sensation. It may feel like a vise clamped down around your skull and temples.
In general, these headaches are more often on the same side of the head as each time you have cluster period (as opposed to migraines which tend to alternate sides).
Cluster headaches are frequently accompanied by symptoms such as eye watering, nasal congestion, stuffy or runny nose or facial flushing or sweating.
Cluster headaches are frequently accompanied by symptoms such as eye watering, nasal congestion, stuffy or runny nose or facial flushing or sweating. Some people also experience back pain during an attack.
Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea (the latter is rare)
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing (rare)
The pain from a cluster headache attack typically lasts from 15 minutes to three hours, although it can sometimes last much longer.
One of the most difficult aspects of cluster headache is that it can come on at any time and lasts for 15 minutes to three hours, although it can sometimes last much longer.
The pain from a cluster headache attack typically lasts from 15 minutes to three hours, although it can sometimes last much longer. The pain may be excruciating and accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, watering eyes, redness in your eyes and runny nose. Attacks are more likely to occur during times of stress or heavy activities like eating or sex.
Anyone can get cluster headaches but men are about four times more likely than women to develop them.
Although cluster headaches are rare, they can occur at any age and affect both men and women. In fact, anyone can get cluster headaches but men are about four times more likely than women to develop them.
Cluster headache sufferers often experience the symptoms on both sides of the head. The pain is so severe that they often feel like they’re dying or going crazy. Because the pain is so intense, many people with this condition end up taking dangerous measures to make it go away including suicide attempts or self-harm (cutting themselves).
The average age for developing cluster headaches is 30 but they can appear at any time from infancy to late adulthood.
- The average age for developing cluster headaches is 30, but they can appear at any time from infancy to late adulthood.
- Cluster headaches are most common in people aged 20 to 50 years old, with men being more likely than women to develop them.
This post will help you learn more about cluster headaches and treatments options
If you have had a cluster headache, you know just how debilitating they can be. A common type of headache with a high intensity and extreme pain level, cluster headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms like tearing or watery eyes, dry mouth, nasal congestion and runny nose. The pain can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours at a time (or longer) before it goes away on its own. Cluster headaches are usually characterized by intense unilateral pain around the eye or temple area; however they can also be felt as deep inside the head with radiating pain that spreads across one side of your face or both sides of your face.
It’s important to note that while patients may experience frequent bouts of these debilitating headaches throughout their lives (usually from spring through fall), those who suffer from cluster headaches may go several months without experiencing them at all. When the attacks do occur though—which is typically during sleep time—it’s essential for patients to take measures that will help minimize their severity so they don’t disrupt their quality of life too much throughout each day until it passes again
Cluster headaches are a painful condition that affects many people. If you have symptoms of cluster headaches, it is important to talk with your doctor about treatment options.