For a small segment of the population, cluster headaches can be a debilitating condition that strikes without warning. Cluster headaches attack at seemingly random intervals, for which they gain their name. Patients can go
years without a single cluster headache, and suddenly suffer them for a period of weeks on end. The exact cause of cluster headaches is not known, although it is thought that stress, alcohol, and drugs can all play a role in promoting an attack. Even without these factors, however, a series of cluster headaches can befall a patient at any time in their life. A cluster headache is easy to differentiate from a normal headache because of its severity and distinct symptoms.
A sufferer of a cluster headache will often have a runny nose or eyes. The pain tends to focus behind one eye, and is often described as feeling like an icepick. This extremely uncomfortable sensation can become very intense, often times triggering a pain crisis in the patient. The pain is often intense enough to cause irrational behavior and extreme reactions. Immediate treatment is very important. Sedatives and pain killers can do a great deal to mitigate the devastating pain frequently associated with a cluster headache.
Cluster headache treatment is a difficult process because of the seemingly random nature of their attacks. Instead of a lifelong regimen of medication, cluster headache treatment is typically limited to lifestyle choices. Avoiding drugs and alcohol is an important first step in avoiding a triggering of cluster headaches. Although prevention is difficult, cluster headache treatment measures such as powerful pain killers can be necessary to have on hand.
Frequent cluster headaches are a definite sign that a visit to the doctor is in order. Although cluster headaches can occur without any discernible cause, they may sometimes be a sign of a deeper neurological issue. If this is the case, it is important that treatment be sought as soon as possible. Some forms of stress management may also be considered effective cluster headache treatment. Although the role of stress in cluster headache treatment is not certain, it is known to play a role in other headaches, and could potentially have an effect on the cluster variety of headaches. Significant emotional stress is known to cause a variety of physiological symptoms, and could play an important role in cluster headaches as well.