Cluster Headache Symptoms and Treatments

If you are suffering from cluster headache symptoms you need to understand what causes this type of headache and how to treat, or prevent, it most effectively. Headaches can be symptoms of other underlying health issues and it is important to understand what type of headache you have, why you have it and what you can do to manage it.
Cluster Headache Symptoms

What is a cluster headache?

  • It is a series, or cluster, of headaches that recurs – typically over a number of weeks;
  • It often occurs on one side of the face and in the area around the eye. The eye actually may be affected by the headache, with a drooping eyelid, trouble focusing the vision, sensitivity to light, and/or pain that appears to be connected to the eye. The affected eye might also be watery, swollen and/or bloodshot (red).
  • This type of headache may not last long but it can be painful, unexpected, and frequent.
  • This series of headaches may recur over a four to twelve week period of time, often coming in the evenings and recurring at least two or three times in a 24 hour period of time.

If you believe that your headaches are cluster types, you need to see your medical doctor to confirm and ensure that there is no other underlying health issue.

Cluster Headache Treatment

To effectively treat cluster headaches, it is important to understand what causes them. Cluster headaches are thought to be caused by problems or abnormalities with the hypothalamus which is the area of the forebrain that controls the nervous system and links to the endocrine system. Because these headaches are not triggered, but rather due to over-activity in the hypothalamus, they are challenging to treat.
However there are natural old home remedies and actions you can take to minimize the length and the intensity of these headaches:

  • Do not drink alcohol once a headache starts and minimize alcohol consumption overall;
  • Limit your caffeine intake (for example, coffee and chocolate);
  • If you are a smoker you are at higher risk for cluster headaches – try to quit smoking or reduce smoking;
  • Practice deep breathing: long breaths in and out – you want to get oxygen flowing through your body;
  • Cold water compresses on the back of the neck and the forehead can help to minimize the pain;
  • Some medications that you may need for other health issues may actually increase the duration of your headaches – talk to your doctor to find out the risk of medications you might be taking and if there are any changes you can make to those medications to relieve the symptoms of cluster headaches.
  • While yoga is not recommended when you are having a cluster headache episode, practicing yoga regularly can help your overall well-being and help your blood and oxygen flow. Yoga also focuses on the sixth chakra (in the center of the forehead) and that may help to prevent headaches.

Identifying cluster headache symptoms is the first step. Next, you need to understand what might cause these headaches and what the best cluster headache treatment is for your specific situation. In addition to actively trying to minimize the pain of a cluster headache, you need to track the occurrences, duration, frequency, medications you take, and potential health issues (for example, smoking) and take that information with you when you visit your family doctor.

It is important to provide as much information as possible to your doctor when you meet to discuss this issue – it is likely that you will be referred to a specialist who deals with this type of health concern and the more information you can provide to your doctor the better he or she will be able to assess the steps necessary to improve your health.