Cluster Headache Treatment


Cluster headaches are among the most intense headaches and occur in cyclical patterns or cluster intervals. The cluster headache is characterized by significant pain in or around one eye on one side of the head. For example, one might experience intense cluster headaches behind the left eye. Cluster episodes last weeks to months and are frequently followed by remission periods, during which the headaches stop. There are no headaches for months or even years during the remission phase. Cluster headaches are not prevalent and do not represent a danger to life. With the right care, cluster headache occurrences can be reduced in length and severity. Medication can also aid in reducing cluster headache frequency. Episodic cluster headaches and chronic cluster headaches are the two main types of cluster headaches.

Cluster Headache Symptoms & Characteristics


You may initially suffer migraine-like nausea and an aura before a cluster headache strikes quickly and unexpectedly. The following are some of the most typical headache signs and symptoms:

  • A painful condition that begins in, behind, or around one eye and extends to your face, head, and neck.
  • Pain on one side
  • Anxiety
  • Tearing excessively
  • Redness or swelling around the affected eye
  • A congested or runny nose on the affected side
  • Sweating on the forehead or face
  • flushed face or pale skin (pallor)
  • drooping eyelid on the affected side
  • On the affected side, a cluster headache might produce distinct migraine-like symptoms such sensitivity to light and sound.

A cluster headache can cause specific migraine-like symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and sound, though on one side.

Cluster Headache Symptoms and Treatment

Cluster Period Characteristics

The length of a cluster phase might range from a few weeks to several months. The start time and duration of each cluster period may be constant across time. For instance, cluster periods can occur every spring or every fall on a seasonal basis.

Episodic cluster headaches are a common headache kind. The duration of episodic cluster headaches ranges from a week to a year, and they are followed by remission periods that can persist for up to a year before returning.

Cluster Period:

  • Headaches occur daily, sometimes countless times a day.
  • An episode might last anywhere from 15 mins to three hours.
  • The episodes frequently happen at the same time every day.
  • Most attacks occur at night, 1 to 2 hours after bed.

The pain disappears as swiftly as it began, with the intensity suddenly decreasing. Most people are pain-free yet fatigued after an attack.

Cluster Headache Diagnosis

A specific pattern characterizes the pain and attacks of cluster headaches. You should describe your headache, the location and severity of the pain, and any symptoms you are experiencing to make a proper diagnosis. The frequency and duration of headaches are other vital considerations.

Your doctor will use some approaches to identify the type and cause of your headache.

Neurological Examination

Your doctor may detect neurological disorders by performing a neurological examination. An examination for cluster headache patients is usually expected. During the assessment, your doctor will test your senses, reflexes, and nerves to determine how well your brain functions.

Imaging tests

A doctor might suggest imaging tests if you experience unusual or complicated headaches or if your neurological examination is abnormal. This is to rule out other potentially severe causes of head pain, such as a tumor or an aneurysm. Tests that are commonly performed on the brain include:


It produces detailed images of your brain and blood vessels using a strong magnetic field and radio waves.

CT Scan

An X-ray is used to construct detailed cross-sectional images of your brain.

Cluster Headache Diagnosis

The physicians at Padda Institute are highly qualified to diagnose and treat headaches of all types, including cluster & chronic headaches. They will coordinate your treatment with your primary doctor and ensure you get overall cluster headache pain relief.

Your Padda Institute Care Team

The Team Approach

You might be evaluated and treated by a team of Padda Institute neurologists in addition to your treating physician.

Individualised Care

Choosing the right treatment for you is a team effort between you and the doctors at Padda Institute. There is no cure for cluster headaches, but doctors will help you manage them.

Care Coordination

Coordinating your medical care will be done by your doctor and your primary doctor.

Experts at Padda Institute

Research at the Padda Institute has made significant advances in the understanding of different types of headaches. At Painmd, cluster headache specialists treat many people each year to live the life they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cluster headaches can be extremely painful, but they are not fatal. However, they are detrimental to a person’s quality of life and can occasionally result in anxiety and/or depressive disorders, particularly if the headaches cannot be controlled by medicine or other treatments.
Less than 1% of people have cluster headaches. Men experience them at much higher rates than women. Cluster headache attacks appear to be most common among middle-aged persons.
It’s important for those who experience cluster headaches to take their prescribed drugs at the times and doses advised by their doctor. Such people should recognize and stay away from all possible triggers.
Cluster headaches are categorized by the International Headache Society (IHS) as episodic (recurring in cycles) or chronic headaches (long-term without significant breaks).

Certain factors that can trigger cluster headaches are:

  • Stress, relaxation
  • hot or cold environments
  • glare, 
  • hay fever
  • sexual activity
  • Sometimes eating specific foods can trigger them
  • Cluster headaches worsened by tobacco or alcohol containing products

A cluster headache episode is a sudden occurrence. The discomfort normally gets worse within a few minutes, but episodes can last upto 3 hours. Contrary to migraine, cluster headaches do not come with auras (visual or other sensory disturbances), hence most patients have little to no notice before one occurs. Cluster headaches differ from other types of headaches in that they frequently start when a person is asleep.

Less than 1% of people have cluster headaches. Men experience them at much higher rates than women. Although some people experience their first episodes in the teens or early fifties, most people experience their first cluster headaches around their mid-twenties. The majority of persons appear to experience attacks most frequently in middle age.

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