Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headache is a neurological problem that involves an immense degree of pain in the head. As the name suggests, the cluster headache exhibits a cluster of painful attacks over a period of many weeks. The pain peaks in just a few minutes and may last for an hour.The pain almost always begins in your eye and always on 1 side of your face. Interestingly, for most people the pain stays on the same side of the face from cluster to cluster, while in a small minority the pain switches to the opposite side during the next cluster.

here are 2 types of cluster headache:

Episodic: This type is more common. You may have 2 or 3 headaches a day for about 2 months and not experience another headache for a year. The pattern then will repeat itself.

Chronic: The chronic type behaves similarly but, unfortunately, you get no period of untreated sustained relief.


The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. Smoking, alcohol use, specific foods, and other factors that seem to trigger cluster headaches should be avoided. A headache diary can help you identify your headache triggers.

Treatment for cluster headaches involves:

  • Triptans
  • Anti-inflammatory (steroid) medicines
  • Breathing in 100% (pure) oxygen often relieves cluster headache for some people, particularly for frequent cluster headaches that occur at night
  • Injections of the drug known as dihydroergotamine (DHE), which can stop cluster attacks within 5 minutes
  • A combination of medicines may be needed to control headache symptoms. Because each person responds differently to medicine, your doctor may have you try several medications before deciding which works best for you.