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.
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