How Cluster Headaches Differ From Other Headache Types
There are several different types of headaches which can affect a person. While some of these headaches can seem quite similar they are each unique. In order to properly treat a headache you must first know what type of headache it is. This is important because what works for one type of headache may not work for another. The three most common types of headache are migraine, tension and cluster.
Cluster headaches are those which occur frequently or in clusters. This means they may happen on a regular basis for days or weeks at a time. In contrast these clusters may also disappear completely for long periods of time as well. This type of headache is rare and may be treated or prevented by various treatments or medications.
Cluster headaches often have specific characteristics however some of the symptoms are similar to those which occur with migraines. For instance cluster headaches often cause pain limited to one side of the head as well as sensitivity to light and nausea. Each of these symptoms can also be associated with a migraine headache as well. Some other symptoms which are somewhat unique to cluster headaches include:
* Excessive pain which may radiate throughout the face and sometimes even as far down as the neck and shoulders
* Excessive watering or redness of the eye on the side which is affected as well as swelling around the eye
* Paleness of the face
* Excessive sweating
The pain of cluster headaches is often unlike any other pain you have felt before. Many times this is described as a burning and very intense pain. For some people it may even be described as feeling as if something hot has been jabbed into their eye.
Cluster headaches often begin quite suddenly with little or no warning. Fortunately this is also the way they often leave as well. The majority of cluster headache attacks occur in the late night or early morning hours and can last anywhere from a few minutes up to several hours. Most people who experience attacks of cluster headaches are usually affected anywhere from a week to two or three months at a time. After this time these headaches may disappear for months or even years at a time before another one is experienced.
If you think you may be suffering from cluster headaches it is recommended that you seek the counsel of your health care provider. While cluster headaches are not considered to be life threatening some medical conditions can produce headaches which may seem similar. In some cases these medical conditions can become life threatening if not detected quickly enough. Some common medical emergencies which may present headaches similar to this include meningitis and stroke. It is important to have headaches such as these diagnosed to rule out the possibility of such conditions.