Headache

17 August 2004

Managing cluster headaches

A cluster headache is a relatively rare type of headache that starts suddenly and is characterised by excruciating pain in or around one eye, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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A cluster headache is a relatively rare type of headache that starts suddenly and is characterised by excruciating pain in or around one eye, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

More common in men, a cluster headache usually lasts about 45 minutes and occurs at the same time each day for several weeks, until the "cluster period" ends. Cluster periods usually last four to eight weeks and may occur every few months. The cause of this type of headache is unknown.

Stick to a routine
Your description of your headaches will help your doctor make a diagnosis. The time and pattern of attacks are important, so keep a pain diary. During a cluster period, it is important to keep to your usual routine, stay calm, and stick to your sleep pattern.

Once a cluster period has started, a change in sleep pattern, particularly taking an afternoon nap, seems to bring on the headaches even more. Drinking alcohol also can spur headaches during cluster periods.

Treatment possibilities
Several treatments are available. Your doctor probably will prescribe one medicine to be taken regularly during a cluster period to reduce the number of headaches and a second medicine to relieve the pain when a cluster headache occurs.

Oral medicines work too slowly to give relief. For this reason, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that is taken by inhaler, as an injection or as a rectal suppository. Other possible treatments include rapidly breathing pure oxygen through a mask or using a local anaesthetic in the nose. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Headache Centre
All you need to know about cluster headaches

 

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Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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