When you feel a deep seated headache, that looks like it is concentrated, occurs at a particular time or period that wakes you up suddenly in the nightyou might be dealing cluster headache. Cluster headaches symptoms mimic those of migraine as well the common headache however, there are slight distinctions between them.
Let’s define it. What is a cluster headache? Cluster headache is a common kind of headache that repeatedly occurs in a particular period of time (usually yearly, or monthly) and usually concentrated around the eyes, or one side of the head. It could be nocturnal in nature occurring repeatedly in the night, and could be more severe than migraine headache.
Reports have suggested that cluster headache affects one in every 500 -1000 persons, and it affects people of all ages, occurs mostly around the age of 20 and more common in men than women.
What causes cluster headaches? The main cause of cluster headache is idiopathic, cause is unknown yet but WebMD reported that the headache occur when a trigeminal-autonomic reflex pathwayin the base of the brain is activated. These nerve bundle- trigeminal nerves supply sensation to the face such as heat or pain to the face region). The activation of these nerves comes from the hypothalamus the home to the internal bio-clock which controls body and circadian rhythms.
Causes of cluster headache may also include drinking of alcohol, sufferers tends to be more sensitive to little amount of alcohol. Another cluster headache causes is smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes has been attributed to be the main cause of cluster headache in smokers.
Other causes of cluster headaches are anxiety, depression and use of nitroglycerin as indicated in the management of heart diseases.
Symptoms of cluster headaches
There are various distinctions between migraine headaches and cluster headache, let us look at some of the cluster headaches symptoms.
1. Pain: The hallmark of cluster headache is pain and it is the most pronounced of all the symptoms of cluster headache. Its severity depends on a number of factors such as:
a) Duration- it usually lasts for about 30-90 minutes
b) Frequency- the pain may reoccur about 1-3 times in a day. Chronic sufferers may experience at most 14-days relief in a year while they experience pain almost throughout the year.
2. Pain in the eye (this is another one of major cluster headaches symptoms). The pain is usually located behind the eye, and often localized to only one eye.
3. Pain that radiates other parts of the body such as the groin, forehead, cheek, temple.
4. Migraine headache
5. Frequent sleep disturbance: Cluster headache causes its sufferers to wake up usually at the same time of the night, thus the name alarm clock headaches.
6. Sweaty face
7. Red ear
8. Blocked sinus and running nostrils
9. One of the pupils become smaller than the other
Cluster headache symptoms may be alleviated by taking a proper course of treatment such as drug therapies such as sumatriptan or zolmitriptan injectionsand relaxation techniques, oxygen therapy also helps.