Cluster headaches are neurological disorders that bring on intense bouts of pain periodically. There is a cyclical pattern to cluster headaches—bouts of intense pain punctuated by painless periods. It is a rare form of headache that affects only 0.5% of the population and is more common in men than women. Studies on people suffering from cluster headaches have shown that these are linked to the biological clock of an individual—most people with these headaches develop them at roughly the same time each year.
In cluster headaches, the pain is usually of a shorter duration than what is experienced in typical migraine headaches and lasts from any length of time from 15 to 30 minutes to up to three hours. The pain strikes without warning, sometimes even jolting an individual from sleep in the middle of the night. Sufferers report an intense and shooting pain in and around the eye that sometimes moves to other regions of the face, head, neck, and shoulders. The pain is usually concentrated on one side along with redness and inflammation in the eye of the affected side. People, during episodes of cluster headaches, also show pale and sweaty skin, their eyelids may droop, and the size of the pupil may decrease. Some individuals also show migraine-like symptoms during cluster headaches, like feelings of giddiness, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and aura on the affected side.
Although a rare form of headache, we, at Houston Headache Institute have effective treatment methodologies to reduce the symptoms of cluster headaches. To treat individual cases, we may administer 100% pure oxygen for about 15 minutes or prescribe medicines like subcutaneous Sumatriptan or Prednisone at specific dosages. The oxygen treatment is a conventional pain management method for these types of headaches and 70% of our patients report significant reduction in pain. So, the next time, you see your loved one in the throes of this debilitating pain, call us at 713-467-4082 for immediate treatment.