Cluster Headache

Types And Symptoms Of Cluster Headaches

  Types of cluster headaches:
Cluster headaches are commonly divided into two types: episodic and chronic cluster headache.

Episodic cluster headache attacks, quite true to their name, occur in episodes of one or more daily, usually at a particular time. They last for a few weeks or months. Then there is a pain-free interval which may last for a few months or if the patient is lucky, a few years as well.

Chronic cluster headache may last for a period of even a few years with these headaches occurring almost on a daily basis. If one experiences episodic cluster headache with not even a month of pain-free remission, then these headaches can be labeled as chronic cluster headaches. Almost 10 – 15 % of the sufferers experience the chronic variety of headache. Hence, the control of these headaches is more difficult because the patient does not respond quite well to the conventional forms of cluster therapy.

The episodic cluster may change to a chronic form and vice versa. And remission of even decades has been reported between their attacks.

Symptoms of cluster headache:
Considered to be an excruciatingly bad pain, the symptoms of a cluster headache are varied. These are as follows:

•Like a migraine attack, the pain in this case is also on one side of the head. But it may change direction and occur on the other side of the head when a new series of attacks starts.
•The pain is localized behind the eye and the region around it.
•It can radiate to the gum, forehead, nose, temple, cheek or chin on the affected side.
•It is often seen that the eyelid of the affected side swells and becomes droopy.
•The nostril on the affected side may become congested. Nasal discharge is also seen often.
•All this is accompanied by sweating as well as a flushing of the face on the affected side.
•There can also be conjunctival infection leading to red, watery eyes. Constriction of pupil, either stiffness or tenderness in neck, and jaw and teeth pain are also reported.

  A person may start getting cluster headaches when he is in his adolescence or early 20s. The individual attack lasts for less than two hours. And when the pain ends, there are additional stabs of pain. Whereas a migraine patient needs rest during the attack, a cluster headache patient gets restless, active and violent. Lying down further aggravates the already bad condition of the patient suffering from cluster headaches.