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What is Cluster Headache

The cluster headache is the most severe form of headache. The pain is felt only on one side of the head and is very intense.

Definition of Cluster Headache

The cluster headache is the most severe form of primary headache. It appears suddenly, extremely intense and painful. The symptoms can be felt day and night, for several weeks. Intense pain is usually felt on one side of the head and the eye. The associated pain is so intense that it can cause nausea.

Other clinical signs may also be associated with cluster headache: swelling, redness and tearing of the eyes and nose. In some cases, nocturnal agitations, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) or hyper or hypotension may be experienced by patients with cluster headache.

This pathology particularly affects people between 20 and 50 years. In addition, any individual, regardless of age, can be affected by the disease. A slight predominance is found in men, and more in smokers. The frequency of appearance of clinical signs is, in general, between 2 and 3 times per day.

The cluster headache can extend over the entire life of the patient, with symptoms often occurring at the same time (usually in spring and fall).

Causes of cluster headache

The exact cause of cluster headache is not currently known. Nevertheless, certain activities and lifestyles can be at the origin of the development of the disease.

Smokers are at greater risk of developing such an attack.

The presence of the disease within the family circle may also be an increased factor in the development of cluster headache in a person. Which suggests the existence of a potential genetic factor?

The symptoms of the disease can be increased under certain conditions: when drinking alcohol, or when exposed to strong odors (paint, gasoline, perfume, etc.).

Who is affected by cluster headache?

Each individual may be concerned about the development of cluster headache. However, people between the ages of 20 and 50 are at increased risk.

Smokers are also at higher risk of developing the disease. Finally, the presence of the disease within the family circle can also be a predominant factor.

Symptoms of neck pain

The symptoms of cluster headache are triggered quickly and intensely. It is mainly acute (very intense) pain on one side of the head, and usually around one eye. Patients often describe the intensity of this pain as being sharp, burning (with a burning sensation) and piercing.

Patients with cluster headache often feel restless and nervous during symptomatic peaks due to the intensity of the pain.

Other clinical signs can be added to this pain:

  • Redness and tearing in the eye
  • Swelling at the eyelid
  • A narrowing of the pupil
  • Intense sweating in the face
  • The nose that tends to flow.
  • Symptomatic peaks usually range from 15 minutes to 3 hours.

How to treat cluster headache?

There is currently no curative treatment for cluster headache, yet the intense pain can significantly disrupt the quality of life of the patient.

The management of the disease will then be targeted at a decrease in symptoms. The prescription of painkillers, such as paracetamol, may be associated with the disease. In addition, these medications are often inadequate for the intensity of the pain. As a result, medications that can reduce pain are:

  • Sumatriptan injections
  • Nasal sprays of sumatriptan or zolmitriptan
  • The oxygeno therapy.

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