What are Cluster Headaches?
Cluster headaches are excruciating attacks of pain in one side of the head, often felt around the eye.
They often occur in bouts of frequent attack known as cluster periods, which can last from weeks to months, usually followed by periods of remission when the headaches stop. During remission no headaches occur for months or even years. These are a rare type of head and tend to start when a person is in their 30s or 40s.
Symptoms of Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches begin quickly and without warning. The pain is very severe and is often described as a sharp, burning or piercing sensation. As well as being felt around the eye, the sufferer may experience pain in the temple and face on the same side.
In addition to the pain, sufferers may get one or more of the following symptoms:
- A red and watering eye
- Drooping and swelling of 1 eye lid
- A smaller pupil in 1 eye
- A sweaty face
- A blocked or runny nostril
Attacks can last anywhere between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and will usually occur 1 to 8 times a day.
An exact cause of these headaches has not yet been identified, what we do know is that smokers are at higher risk of these headaches, there is also a potential genetic link.
Cluster headaches will normally occur daily for a period of 4 to 12 weeks (sometimes longer), this will then be followed by a period of remission which can last weeks or years. Headaches will often be at the same time each day.
What can be done about cluster headaches?
Many people suffer with cluster headaches for life, as there is not yet a recognised long-term cure for them. Over-the-counter painkillers are not effective for cluster headaches as they are too slow acting. People may be recommended specialist treatments by their GP or specialist which may help to relieve the pain from an attack if administered quickly.
Chiropractic Treatment for Cluster Headaches
Chiropractors are known to work with people suffering from a multitude of different headache types with good success. As upper cervical chiropractors we focus on getting to the root cause of the issues by specific analysis of how the structures of the upper neck are impacting the nervous system and causing the person’s headaches.
So far we have seen great success with many of our headache patients with people seeing reduction in frequency, duration and intensity of headaches when they start care with us. Over time many people continue to see improvement and many of our patients report resolution of their headaches.
If you or someone you know is suffering with cluster headaches you’d like to find out if the care we provide is right for you then why not book a complimentary consultation call with one of our upper cervical chiropractors.
Why not find out more about what we do by looking at another one of our blogs?