General Illness Information
Medical Term: Same
Constant one-sided headache over and behind the eye, with onset occurring usually within 3-4 hours of falling asleep.
80% of these affected are males.
Pain recurs nightly for several weeks or month, followed by no symptoms for months or years.
Unknown. Thought to be related to changes in blood flows to the brain, and to disturbances in RAM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
During cluster periods, avoid bright light or glare, alcohol, excessive anger, stressful activity or excitement. These will precipitate attacks.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sudden onset of headache often at night while sleeping.
- Headache reaches crescendo within 15 minutes and lasts about 2 hours.
- Pain is unilateral around the eye.
- Severe, piercing or boring pain.
- Teary eyes.
- Slow heartbeat.
- Restless, active, violent (sometimes).
- Episodes of headaches occur at same time on consecutive days, with clusters of these days, separated by attack-free weeks or months.
- Male, age over 30.
- Possible relationship to previous head injury or surgery.
- Prior history of migraine frequent (significant in females).
Diagnosis & Treatment
- Diagnosis is usually determined by the patient’s history of the headache patterns and symptoms.
- Therapy may involve medications and lifestyle changes.
- During cluster periods, avoid bright light or glare, alcohol, excessive anger, stressful activity or excitement. These will precipitate attacks.
- Avoid smoking, since nicotine may make cluster unresponsive to drug treatment.
- Sumatriptan , or other triptans,subcutaneous (injected under the skin) or orally, may help during an acute attack. Follow all prescription instructions carefully.
- Ergotamine aerosol may be used during an attack and also as a preventive. Follow prescription instructions carefully, especially if you take more than one medication.
- Several medications are available that can help suppress headaches during a cluster period (prednisone, lithium, ergotamine, verapamil, indomethacin, and methysergide).
Activity: Avoid any activities that cause you to injure yourself during attacks
- During clusters, avoid alcohol as it can precipitate attacks.
- Rarely, specific foods (chocolate, eggs, dairy products) trigger attacks.
Possible Complications :
- Self-injury during attack.
- Side effects of drugs.
No cure is available, but treatment can help control the pain and shorten the cluster period.