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Question
Posted by: Alain Grobler | 2009/11/23

Cluster Headaches

Good day,

I have been a cluster survivor for the last 20 years. The last cycle started on 14 October 2009 and has lasted to date. I' ve been to Doctors to get medication and none of it seems to be working. the last of it being Panap Cort (I think) which I' m drinking at night and Cynab Forte when needed for pain. My cluster cycle normally starts subsiding after 3 - 4 weeks but this one does not seem to be even showing signs of subsiding, hitting me 3 - 4 times a day, every day. I am really getting very desperate now, not knowing what to do anymore. It is obviously affecting my work, not getting much sleep and getting attacked at work. I' ve asked 3 different doctors for oxegyn therapy and Imitrex prescriptions, but all refuse. What should I do? Please advise?

Regards

Alain Grobler

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Alain,

I cannot understand why your doctors have refused to prescribe oxygen or Imigran injections (I see that you used the US name – Imitrex – are you in the US?)

Cluster headaches, like other primary headaches, have causes that can often be identified and treated, often without the use of drugs. Even when drugs are necessary, it is better to use preventive medications than to use “rescue” medication when an attack strikes.

With other types of headache, the correct approach is to treat using a step-by-step approach. Once the underlying cause/s of the headache have been identified, the most conservative treatment is used first. If good results are not achieved with conservative treatment, one goes to the next step, and so forth.

With cluster however, the pain is so severe that one cannot afford the luxury of a prolonged treatment plan. Rather, the problem is dealt with by using multiple therapies together, so that one has the best chance of aborting the cluster. These multiple therapies are best carried out by an integrated multidisciplinary team, so that the treatments can be co-ordinated. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which may be involved, and no single specialist has all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, is co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed.

One of the best resources available to cluster headache sufferers is an international support community on the internet. You can locate this community at http://www.clusterheadaches.com/. They are incredibly knowledgeable and give you both guidance and support free of charge.

Cluster Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the severity of the pain. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: gaynor | 2009/12/11

Can one go for an operation for these cluster headache???

Reply to gaynor
Posted by: headache expert | 2009/11/24

Dear Alain,

I cannot understand why your doctors have refused to prescribe oxygen or Imigran injections (I see that you used the US name – Imitrex – are you in the US?)

Cluster headaches, like other primary headaches, have causes that can often be identified and treated, often without the use of drugs. Even when drugs are necessary, it is better to use preventive medications than to use “rescue” medication when an attack strikes.

With other types of headache, the correct approach is to treat using a step-by-step approach. Once the underlying cause/s of the headache have been identified, the most conservative treatment is used first. If good results are not achieved with conservative treatment, one goes to the next step, and so forth.

With cluster however, the pain is so severe that one cannot afford the luxury of a prolonged treatment plan. Rather, the problem is dealt with by using multiple therapies together, so that one has the best chance of aborting the cluster. These multiple therapies are best carried out by an integrated multidisciplinary team, so that the treatments can be co-ordinated. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which may be involved, and no single specialist has all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, is co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed.

One of the best resources available to cluster headache sufferers is an international support community on the internet. You can locate this community at http://www.clusterheadaches.com/. They are incredibly knowledgeable and give you both guidance and support free of charge.

Cluster Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the severity of the pain. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).

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