Symptoms of Cluster headaches and Treatment

Symptoms related to cluster headaches are agonizing so much so that these headaches can even awaken a person from his/her sleep. The pain causes in cyclic patterns like 1-3 headaches on a daily basis and it can continue for 2-3 months. The headache then disappears completely as you go into remission and remission lasts for few months or even couple of years.

Symptoms and causes of cluster headaches

Cluster headaches occur rarely, aren’t life-threatening still very intense. The headache appears suddenly without any warning. The symptoms are

  • Sweating
  • Reduced size of pupil
  • Swelling around your eye
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Redness of the eye on the side which is affected or        excessive tearing
  • Difficulty in closing the eyelid (affected area)
  • Restlessness

Cluster headaches do not last for more than 15 minutes and rarely continue for a few hours. However they are agonizing and very intense. The pain ends as fast as it begins. After the attack the person becomes pain free but exhausted.

Some people report nausea, sensitivity to sound, light or an aura as symptoms of cluster headaches. The exact cause of cluster headaches is still not known but it is believed that it may occur due to hypothalamus abnormalities. Cluster headaches are also influenced due to change in season and they occur in spring the most. These headaches are also triggered because of alcohol consumption.

Treatment of cluster headaches

An individual should consult the doctor immediately upon experiencing such type of headache to know the cause. Though cluster headaches are severe but do not occur as a result of serious disease, but some conditions like aneurysm and brain tumor seem to be like cluster headaches.

A detailed diagnosis is based on the characteristics of your headaches, pain type and pattern of attacks. A medical physician may conduct blood tests, MRI, CT scan etc., cluster headaches have no cure and treatment is given to reduce the pain severity and duration of pain attacks and duration of period during which the cluster headache occurs.

OPT medications like ibuprofen and aspirin sometimes aren’t effective as the headaches occur suddenly and stop within a short time span, not leaving a single second for the drug to show its effect. There are some treatment that act fast to provide pain relief as well.

Other medications that are used as preventive therapy and used to suppress the attach the very moment It begins. Your physician may prescribe.

  • Melatonin
  • Lithium carbonate
  • Calan, Verelan
  • Nerve block
  • Ergotamine
  • Corticosteroids
  • Divalproex

Some people who do not want to take medications or do not get relief with standard treatment often go for surgery that helps blocking trigeminal nerve. You should know all about cluster headaches so that when you visit your doctor you should be able to discuss in detail with your doctor and getting all tests done as per doctor’s advice will be helpful to know if the headache is a cluster headache or the reason is different that you need to know.

over 90% Children report having a headache

children suffer from the same types of headaches as adults do, but their symptoms may be slightly different. The diagnostic approach to headache in children is similar to that of adults. However, young children may not be able to verbalize pain well. If a young child is fussy, he may have a headache.

In some cases, headaches in children are caused by an infection, high levels of stress or anxiety, or minor head trauma. It’s important to pay attention to your child’s headache symptoms and consult a doctor if the headache worsens or occurs frequently. Headaches in children usually can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications and other lifestyle measures.

Causes of Headaches

Headaches are thought to be caused by changes in chemicals, nerves, or blood vessels in the area. These changes send pain messages to the brain and bring on a headache.

In general, kids get the same types of headaches as adults. And headaches often are hereditary, so if a parent gets them, their kids might too.

Some of the many potential headache triggers include:

  • certain medications (headaches are a potential side effect of some)
  • too little sleep or sudden changes in sleep patterns
  • skipping meals
  • becoming dehydrated
  • being under a lot of stress
  • having a minor head injury
  • using the computer or watching TV for a long time
  • vision problems
  • menstruation
  • experiencing changes in hormone levels
  • taking a long trip in a car or bus
  • listening to really loud music
  • smoking
  • smelling strong odors such as perfume, smoke, fumes, or a new car or carpet
  • drinking or eating too much caffeine (in soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate)
  • consuming certain foods (such as alcohol, cheese, nuts, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, fatty or fried food, lunchmeats, hot dogs, yogurt, aspartame, or anything with the food additive MSG)

In some cases, headaches are caused by certain infections, such as:

  • ear infections
  • viral infections, like the flu or common cold
  • strep throat
  • sinus infections
  • Lyme disease

Most headaches aren’t signs that something more is wrong, but occasionally headaches are caused by more serious medical conditions.

Just as in adults, most headaches are benign, but when head pain is accompanied with other symptoms such as speech problems, muscle weakness, and loss of vision, a more serious underlying cause may exist:hydrocephalus, meningitis, encephalitis, abscess, hemorrhage, tumor, blood clots, or head trauma. In these cases, the headache evaluation may include CT scan or MRI in order to look for possible structural disorders of the central nervous system.[61] If a child with a recurrent headache has a normal physical exam, neuroimaging is not recommended. Guidelines state children with abnormal neurologic exams, confusion, seizures and recent onset of worst headache of life, change in headache type or anything suggesting neurologic problems should receive neuroimaging.

In general, though, certain symptoms tend to fall more frequently under certain categories.

Migraine

Migraines can cause:

  • Pulsating, throbbing or pounding head pain
  • Pain that worsens with exertion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound

Even infants can have migraines. A child who’s too young to tell you what’s wrong may cry and hold his or her head to indicate severe pain.

Tension-type headache

Tension-type headaches can cause:

  • A pressing tightness in the muscles of the head or neck
  • Mild to moderate, nonpulsating pain on both sides of the head
  • Pain that’s not worsened by physical activity
  • Headache that’s not accompanied by nausea or vomiting, as is often the case with migraine

Younger children may withdraw from regular play and want to sleep more. Tension-type headaches can last from 30 minutes to several days.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are uncommon in children under 12 years of age. They usually:

  • Occur in groups of five or more episodes, ranging from one headache every other day to eight a day
  • Involve sharp, stabbing pain on one side of the head that lasts from 15 minutes to three hours
  • Are accompanied by teariness, congestion, runny nose, or restlessness or agitation

Chronic daily headache

Doctors use the phrase “chronic daily headache” (CDH) for migraine headaches and tension-type headaches that occur more than 15 days a month for more than three months. CDH may be caused by an infection, minor head injury or taking pain medications — even nonprescription pain medications — too often.

 

When children complain of headaches, many parents are concerned about a brain tumor. Generally, headaches caused by brain masses are incapacitating and accompanied by vomiting. One study found characteristics associated with brain tumor in children are: headache for greater than 6 months, headache related to sleep, vomiting, confusion, no visual symptoms, no family history of migraine and abnormal neurologic exam.

Some measures can help prevent headaches in children. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, avoiding caffeine, getting enough and regular sleep, eating balanced meals at the proper times, and reducing stress and excess of activities may prevent headaches. Treatments for children are similar to those for adults, however certain medications such as narcotics should not be given to children.

Children who have headaches will not necessarily have headaches as adults. In one study of 100 children with headache, eight years later 44% of those with tension headache and 28% of those with migraines were headache free. In another study of people with chronic daily headache, 75% did not have chronic daily headaches two years later, and 88% did not have chronic daily headaches eight years later.

 

What are primary headaches, Main Type Headache Percentage?

90% of all headaches are primary headaches. Primary headaches usually first start when people are between 20 and 40 years old . The most common types of primary headaches are migraines and tension-type headaches. They have different characteristics. Migraines typically present with pulsing head pain, nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound). Tension-type headaches usually present with non-pulsing “bandlike” pressure on both sides of the head, not accompanied by other symptoms.

  • Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache. Tension headaches occur more commonly among women than men. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 20 people in the developed world suffer with a dailytension headache.
  • Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Beforepuberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty, more women than men are affected.
  • Cluster headaches are a rare type of primary headache. It more commonly affects men in their late 20s though women and children can also suffer this type of headache.

cs can affect the quality of life. Some people have occasional headaches that resolve quickly while others are debilitated. While these headaches are not life-threatening, they may be associated with symptoms that can mimic strokes.

main headaceh type

Many patients equate severe headache with migraine, but the amount of pain does not determine the diagnosis of migraine. A full discussion of migraine headaches can be found in this article.

primaryheadache

Other very rare types of primary headaches (<8%) include:

  • trigeminal neuralgia: shooting face pain
  • hemicrania continua: continuous unilateral pain with episodes of severe pain. Hemicrania continua can be relieved by the medication indomethacin.
  • primary stabbing headache: recurrent episodes of stabbing “ice pick pain” or “jabs and jolts” for 1 second to several minutes without autonomic symptoms (tearing, red eye, nasal congestion). These headaches can be treated with indomethacin.
  • primary cough headache: starts suddenly and lasts for several minutes after coughing, sneezing or straining (anything that may increase pressure in the head). Serious etiologies(see secondary headaches red flag section) must be ruled out before a diagnosis of “benign” primary cough headache can be made.
  • primary exertional headache: throbbing, pulsatile pain which starts during or after exercising, lasting for 5 minutes to 24 hours. The mechanism behind these headaches is unclear, possibly due to straining causing veins in the head to dilate, causing pain. These headaches can be prevented by not exercising too strenuously and can be treated with medications such as indomethacin.
  • primary sex headache: dull, bilateral headache that starts during sexual activity and becomes much worse during orgasm. These headaches are thought to be due to lower pressure in the head during sex. It is important to realize that headaches that begin during orgasm may be due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, so serious causes must be ruled out first. These headaches are treated by advising the person to stop sex if they develop a headache. Medications such as propranolol and diltiazem can also be helpful.
  • hypnic headache: moderate-severe headache that starts a few hours after falling asleep and lasts 15–30 minutes. The headache may recur several times during night. Hypnic headaches are usually in older women. They may be treated with lithium.

Cefaly For Migraine Headache Treatment

Cefaly is the first cranial analgesic electrotherapy device, complete with an advanced Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation treatment and an ISO medical certificate. Cefaly can also help relax people suffering from the painful discomfort of trigeminal neuralgia and frontal sinusitis.

Headaches are not specific to a particular age group and Cefaly is known to act on the physiological mechanisms that are not age reliant. Therefore, Cefaly aids in alleviating symptoms and preventing them regardless of age. Moreover, Cefaly is suitable for children 8 years and above, provided it is used under adult supervision.

Cefaly employs sophisticated state of the art technology using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy in a patented device that is lightweight, easy to use and effective.

This device uses gentle electric impulses that act on the nerve cells that are responsible for the pain and various other sensations, most associated with migraine and headache. However, Cefaly is most beneficial when pain is located in the front half or the skull. Through the electrode, Cefaly transmits detailed electrical impulses that manipulate the trigeminal nerves. This prevents the brain from registering pain signals, and stimulates endorphins.

Worn like a pair of spectacles, Cefaly is designed to prevent and treat chronic and recurrent headaches and substantially reduce and prevent stress and anxiety. During the 20 minute Cefaly treatment session, a pleasant tingling sensation is felt. The intensity of this sensation can be adjusted to personal preferences. The treatment can be repeated as required. However, Cefaly does not benefit the pain located at the back of the skull or in the lower part of the face below the eyes.

How is lifestyle affected?

Although nasty, painful and debilitating, most headaches are not life-threatening. However, they can diminish a person’s quality of life as severely as serious medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Medical studies reveal that people who suffer from regular headaches face severe limitations in their ability to function. Many people are even forced to stop work and non-work activities as well as experience significantly reduced productivity in all activity domains. Chronic headaches have a marked negative influence on patients’ lives, compromising their sense of well-being and their day-to-day functioning. In fact, the highest decrease was seen in their physical role, vitality and social functioning.

These studies are alarming because the headaches are most prevalent among people between the ages of 25 and 55, which is the time of life when most people are at their economic peak and in the midst of raising their families.

Furthermore, medical research has revealed that more than 70% of sufferers experience impairment in interpersonal relationships, including work relationships, has increased incidence of depression and loss of short-term memory.

Headache prevention

Headaches affect nearly 90% of men and 95% of women. Persistent headaches can even alter a person’s personality. A bad headache lowers productivity, can you irritable, and drains you both mentally and physically. However, there are several ways to prevent headache. Some of them are:

• A good night’s sleep; make sure that your environment is peaceful.
• Stay away from incense the smoke contains a lot of alkaloids which, when inhaled can cause a rapid changes in your blood flow, causing a headache.
• Inhale steam or menthol vapors. Stand in a hot shower or dissolve menthol in hot water and inhale. This clears out sinuses and helps prevent a sinus headache.
• Dink plenty of water; it is the elixir of life. It helps keep the body running properly. Disrupted water balance can lead to terrible headaches.
• Use cucumber slices to cool the eye muscles.
• Do not sleep with hair gel on; hair gel is full of chemicals and mild perfume that can cause headaches after inhaling them all night. These chemicals will also clog the pores in the scalp, preventing the skin from being able to breathe.
• Avoid fermented or pickled foods as well as foods that contain monosodium glutamate and caffeine. These foods affect the blood flow in the body causing headaches.
• Stretch your body frequently; this helps keep the muscles loose.
• Eat organic foods as organic foods contain no foreign chemicals, which restrict blood flow.
• Practice Yoga; the benefits of yoga are plentiful. It keeps the body, mind and spirit relaxed, refreshed and stress free.

With a little extra effort each day one can drastically decrease the recurrence of headaches, allowing a person to lead a happy life.

Is That Headache Actually Sinusitis?

Symptoms can vary with both the type of sinusitis and the person who has it. For many (estimated to be about 87%) the symptoms seem to start with the common cold which either seems to never go away or to keep coming back. Here is a more complete list (with specifics) of the symptoms than I have been able to find searching the internet .

Head Congestion which is that feeling of stuffiness (most obvious when arising from bed) and is often relieved but not cured by a nice hot shower. This may manifest its self as a dull ache behind or above the eyes.
You may also experience some dizziness or light headiness.

Headache and/or Facial Pain which is sometimes difficult to differentiate, is another common symptom and the specifics vary depending on which sinus is inflamed.

You actually have four sets of sinus cavities, not one or two as many people believe. Sinus cavities come in pairs just like your legs and arms. I don’t want to be very technical about this because that would most likely confuse the people I am writing this for, I am not writing this for nurses or other health care professionals.

The specific pain symptoms are pain and swelling in the cheek or the pain might occur in the eye or the upper teeth (maxillary sinus).

Pain between and behind the eyes (ethmoid sinuses) or pain in the forehead and over the eyes (frontal sinuses).
Lastly, you could have a generalized pain deep in the head which becomes aggravated when your head is jarred, this is often perceived as a headache in back of the head at the base of the skull (sphenoids sinuses).

Air can be prevented from entering your sinuses due to swollen mucous membranes, thereby creating a vacuum which results in severe pain. This is why many sinus sufferers experience pain when the barometric pressure changes.

Now that you understand what the problem and symptoms are, maybe you realize that you might actually be suffering from sinusitis. I am not sure if I do because it is common for a sinus headache to be misdiagnosed as a migraine and vice versa.

You could go the traditional route and use cough suppressants, analgesics and decongestants, and possible antibiotics. You could also try a steam inhaler or perhaps cleansing the nasal passages with a Neti Pot. There is evidence that the Neti Pot is one of the most helpful treatments for curing chronic sinusitis. If you have done several rounds of antibiotics as well as other medicines or even surgery and nothing has given you relief, then maybe it’s time to try one of the alternatives. If you choose to use the Net Pot, you must read the directions. You will need to use a special saline solution and learn how to position your head so that the solution comes out of the opposite nostril.

I have used it and it does take a little while to get the hang of it. It’s similar to riding a bike, once you figure it out it becomes easier every time you do it.

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