What Are Cluster Headaches?

Cluster HeadacheCluster Headaches are extremely painful. They occur in clusters or in a cyclical period.  Cluster Headaches normally affect one side of the head and the area around the eyes. Some people who suffer from Cluster Headaches will get a reddened eye on the affected side of the head and a stuffy nose. This type of headache tends to recur over a period of several weeks. Cluster Headaches get their names because the attacks happen in groups, or “clusters.” During a cluster headache attack, you will experience, brief, but excruciatingly severe headaches which can happen between 1-8 times per day. The cycles can last for weeks or months. Some people will experience periods without any attacks in between the clusters; however, people they headaches will typically come back again and again. Men are affected around three times more often than women, according to experts.

Common Symptoms

A cluster headache usually strikes without warning and is similar to a migraine headache or other acute headache. The most common symptom includes an excruciating pain normally behind or around one eye that radiates around the face, head and neck. Other symptoms include a runny nose, pale skin, eye swelling, eye tearing, dropping eyelid, and sensitivity to light and sound. Cluster headaches generally are not associated with a trigger, like foods or stress, like tension headaches. Some risk factors that may cause cluster headaches include sex, age, smoking, family history and alcohol use.  In the event that you are experiencing more severe symptoms or symptoms are worsening, it is important to see a doctor.

Treatment Options

It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing cluster headache symptoms to rule out other disorders and to find an effective treatment to reduce and eliminate the pain. The best way to start to treat a headache at home is to try rapid-acting pain relievers. This may help to dull the pain if not eliminate it in some cases. Cluster headaches in most cases can be successfully treated by an individualized acute and preventative drug treatment. Preventative medication like verapamil and sumatriptan are among the most effective acute therapeutic options. If the medications proves ineffective, the next step to consider is a surgical solution.

Louisiana Pain Specialists

At Louisiana Pain Specialists, our focus is on improving the quality of life of our patients. We have helped thousands of our patients get back to doing what is important to them: working, having restful sleep, spending quality time with friends and family, and participating in their normal daily life. We have been successful in caring for patients with challenging conditions, for whom other treatment plans have failed. With seven locations in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, we provide quick access to accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment for those who suffer from chronic and acute pain.