Cluster headaches are a category of headaches that occur in a cyclical pattern. A person afflicted with cluster headaches is primarily characterized by a series of headaches that occur episodically.
These episodes of cluster headaches are relatively short, but they are also one of the most painful categories of headaches. The defining characteristic of cluster headaches is their seasonal nature. Episodes of cluster headaches tend to occur around the same time every year.
The duration of these almost uniformly frequent bouts of cluster headaches can range from weeks to months to entire seasons.
This duration of time is clinically referred to as a cluster period. Every cluster period is followed by a period of remission, during which time the patient does not experience any headaches.
These periods of remission can range from as short as a week to as long as a year or sometimes even more.
Cluster headaches are the least common form of headaches. In an average sample space of one thousand people, only one person is potentially likely to be afflicted by cluster headaches, in other words, the probability of a person being afflicted by cluster headaches is less than one in one thousand.
People under the age of thirty are more prone to cluster headaches. Men are found to be more susceptible to cluster headaches than women.
Unlike migraine headaches and tension headaches, cluster headaches are not commonly triggered by external factors such as food habits, sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue or depression. Here are some internal factors that can cause cluster headaches to occur and some external ones that can aggravate the patient’s condition:
The symptoms for cluster headaches are rather obvious and well-defined than those pertaining to tension headaches. Cluster headaches are very unpredictable and don’t come with any warning symptoms, unlike migraine headaches. The symptoms are often intense and rather excruciating. They include:
1. Excessive pain behind either one eye. This pain eventually spreads over the entire face.
2. Inflammation and redness of the affected eye. Swelling may also be observed.
3. Leakage of water from the affected eye.
4. The nostril on the side of the affected eye being stuffy.
5. Sweating on the affected side of the forehead.
6. Restlessness, nausea, and vomiting.
Some of the measures through which physicians test a patient for cluster headaches include:
Here are some of the common remedial measures for cluster headaches as prescribed by physicians:
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