They’re not migraines; yet, cluster headaches cause excruciating head pain that can last from 15 minutes to three hours, debilitating to the point of earning the nickname “suicide headaches.”
What are cluster headaches?
There are several types of chronic headache disorders, and cluster headaches are in a league of their own, inflicting intense head pain in its sufferers, most often waking them from their sleep with sharp headaches on one side of the head.
A typical cluster headache attack can last minutes, or it can drag on for hours of uninterrupted torture. Most people who get cluster headaches spend about a quarter of their time battling strong headaches, while a smaller percentage, about 15%, suffer from chronic cluster headaches that occur almost every day.
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Cluster headache attacks are characterized by pain that begins at the side of the head, and slowly progresses towards the temples, causing intense burning pain and flushed face.
Similar to migraines?
Cluster headaches are in a separate category of chronic headache from migraines, although they do bear some similarities.
- Migraines and cluster headaches both cause pain on one side of the head.
- Both are debilitating enough to cause impairment and interfere with work.
- Cluster headaches, like migraines, are believed to occur in the brain.
- Cluster headaches and migraines both have no cure.
- Cluster headaches and migraines share common triggers, such as bright lights, high altitude, exertion, certain foods, and alcohol.
- Medications used to treat both migraines and cluster headaches include triptans and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Like migraines, cluster headaches are also being experimentally treated through the use of electronic nerve stimulation.
If your Headache is a Migraine…Are you sure?
Because of the lack of awareness of cluster headaches, many patients are misdiagnosed as sufferers of migraine disorder.
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Like this? Read more:
Migraines are Excruciating, Trigeminal Neuralgia is Suicide
Secondary Headache or Migraine- What’s the Difference?
6 Tests for Migraines and other Chronic Headaches
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