What are Cluster Headaches?

Cluster headaches, which occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head. A cluster headache strikes quickly, usually without warning, although you might first have migraine-like nausea and aura.

During a cluster period:

  • Headaches usually occur every day, sometimes several times a day.
  • A single attack can last from 15 minutes to three hours.
  • The attacks often occur at the same time each day.
  • Most attacks occur at night, usually one to two hours after you go to bed.

What are the symptoms of Cluster Headaches?

Common signs and symptoms during a headache include:

  • Excruciating pain, generally situated in or around one eye, but may radiate to other areas of your face, head, neck and shoulders
  • One-sided pain
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness in your eye on the affected side
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side
  • Forehead or facial sweating
  • Pale skin (pallor) or flushing on your face
  • Swelling around your eye on the affected side
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sounds

What are the causes of Cluster Headaches?

The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown.  Unlike migraines and tension headaches, cluster headaches generally aren't associated with triggers, such as foods, hormonal changes or stress.  Once a cluster period begins, however, drinking alcohol may quickly trigger a splitting headache. For this reason, many people with cluster headaches avoid alcohol during a cluster period.  Another possible trigger can include the use of certain medications.  

The first step in treating Cluster Headaches is to make an appointment to see one of our specialists to learn your treatment options.  

Call us at 646-763-2222 or request more information. At Advanced Headache Center our goal is to get you started on a personalized treatment plan to find relief.