Cluster Headache Causes

Cluster Headache Causes

Cluster Headache Causes - Symptoms of Cluster Headache - Cluster Headache Treatment - Cluster Headache Risk Factors » Symptoms and Causes of Cluster headachesCluster headaches are one of the most painful types of headaches a person can have, surpassing even migraines. Men are affected more commonly than women are with these types of headaches, whereas women are more prone to migraines. There is a clear distinction between cluster headaches and migraines.


The pain, the patients suffer is generally described as feeling as if they have an ice pick shoved into their eye. The onset is usually rapid and severe but generally subsides within 15 minutes.

The headaches occur in groups or clusters lasting from days to months. There are periods in between where the patient suffers no headaches. The patterns vary from person to person.

People who are suffering from cluster headaches often appear restless and prefer to walk or sit and rock to try to soothe themselves. Lying down tends to increase the pain. Some people will bang their head against a wall and scream to try and distract themselves from the pain.


The cause of cluster headaches remains unknown. There is a possibility that heredity plays a role. There may be a problem with the area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. There is a possible connection between REM sleep and the occurrence of cluster headaches.

Risk Factors:

Males are more likely to suffer from cluster headaches than women are. Head trauma can precede the onset of cluster headaches. It is suspected the trigeminal nerve may have some connection. Consuming alcohol or smoking may trigger an attack. An increase in histamine many precipitate an attack.

Treatment and Precautions:

Some medications may be used to treat the duration and intensity of the headaches. Medications such as verapamil (a blood pressure medication), sumatriptan (a migraine medicine), and lithium (a bipolar medication) are among several that are used.

Administering 100% oxygen is another treatment that has shown some success. Avoiding things that can trigger the headaches, such as alcohol, may reduce the frequency of the attacks.

Tests and Diagnosis:

A complete medical history and a physical exam are used to diagnose cluster headaches. A physician can diagnose cluster headaches by the location and intensity of the pain and how frequently they occur.

CT or MRI scans of the brain may be used to rule out any type of physical problems. Imaging tests of the blood vessels in the neck may be used to rule out blood vessel disease.

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