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Neurology: Headaches, Migraines: Treatments for Cluster Headaches  Previous

Treatments for Cluster Headaches

by: Christian Goodman

Almost all of us will suffer from a headache or headaches in our lifetime, that can't be linked back to some other medical condition. These headaches are known as primary headaches and they include tension headaches, migraine headaches and cluster headaches.

I've received a lot of feedback from my clients, telling me how much they've enjoyed my Migraine and Headache Relief program to cure both their tension and migraine headaches. My program is all natural and requires no medication.

Some of you have asked me if my program can help treat cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are the most rare of the primary headaches so I'll first explain what each of the different types of primary headaches are in order to help identify which type of headache you might be suffering from.

A tension headache is described as pain in the head, neck and/or scalp. It can feel like a band squeezing the affected area. Over 80% of headache sufferers fall into this category.

Women are generally twice as likely suffer from tension headaches the men. For most, the pain is not unbearable and most can go through their daily routines without interruption.

Triggers for tension headache include: Lack of sleep, stress, depression, anxiety and bad posture. They last 30 minutes to a few hours but can go on for a week. They can be episodic headaches (lasting less than 15 days per month) or chronic (lasting over 15 days per month).

Most who suffer from this type of headache will not require medicine. Relief from this type of headache is most often acheived through relaxation exercises which include deep breathing exercises.

Migraines are the second most common type of primary headache. A migraine is a vascular disorder in the arteries and blood vessels in the affected area of the brain. Abnormal blood flow through the arteries causes sensitivity and pain.

A migraine headache is caused by abnormal blood flow to the arteries which in turn causes the arteries to constrict and dilate improperly and then causes a throbbing, painful sensation on the affected side of the head but sometimes spreading to both sides.

Women are 3 times as likely to have a migraine headache disorder. Some sufferers only experience infrequent and moderately painful migraines but for most, these headaches are frequent and debilitating, forcing the sufferer to lie motionless and give up daily tasks until the headache dissapates (generally 4 to 72 hours later but sometimes weeks later).

Migraine symptoms include: Light and/or sound sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, an aura of "seeing spots" and sensitivity to smells - all of which tend to worsen with physical movement.

Triggers for migraines include: Lack of sleep, changes in the weather, certain foods (including red wine, cheese, chocolate, MSG, aspartame, and some processed meats), perfumes, or other smells, loud noises, stress, and even some headache medications. Many migraine relief medicines have the dilemma of causing rebound headaches - the migraine goes away but now the sufferer experiences a tension headache.

Other natural treatments include: Deep breathing exercises and oxygen therapy.

The cluster headache, while the most rare of the primary headaches is also, BY FAR, the most painful. In fact, it has historically been referred to as the "suicide" headache because that is what some sufferers eventually resorted to in order to gain relief from the pain.

Cluster headaches get their name because the headaches tend to occur in clusters. They will happen several times per day, lasting for the same amount of time and occuring at the same time per day. They tend to linger for several weeks, will dissipate and then recur with the same frequency and intensity.

Unlike tension and migraine headaches, cluster headaches tend to come on without any warning and generally are unilateral (affecting only one side of the brain). Pain behind the eye of the affected area is a common complaint. The attacks are severe and tend to last for an hour or less.

The pain is caused when the blood vessels in the affected region dialate and put pressure on the trigeminal nerve. The cause of the irregular dialation is not known. The pain also differs from that of migraine, wherein, the sufferer needs to "move around" because lying motionless is worse.

Men are five times as likely as women to suffer from cluster headaches. Other symptoms include: drooping eyelid, watery eyes and blocked nasal passages. In fact, many doctors misdiagnose cluster headaches as sinus headaches.

There are triggers for cluster headaches which include: Fatigue or lack of sleep, sleep apnea, snoring, nitroglycerine, stress, smoking, alcohol, and some foods. Just like migraines, cluster headaches are regarded as episodic or chronic.

Cluster headaches tend to have a seasonal rhythm which means sufferers tend to get them during the spring or fall. The headaches will happen at the same time each day, several times per day. Many of the attacks start during REM sleep, so sufferers will try to avoid sleep and the ensuing headache.

Several studies have been performed on cluster headache sufferers and one common theme has come forward - sleep apnea and excessive snoring seem to be the most common trigger. These both involve not getting enough oxygen to the brain. When these conditions were treated, researchers found that most of the time the cluster headaches subsided.

Diagnosis involves a medical history since they can be partly genetic, physical examination and a CT or MRI (to rule out other medical conditions). A diagnosis involves all of these but relies heavily on the description of the pain.

Pain medication is often prescribed but most is not preventative - they simply help treat the pain once the headache starts. There are other preventative medicines. However, the side effects are oftentimes severe, including high blood pressure, liver conditions and angina.

One effective treatment once the headache has begun is oxygen therapy.

My completely natural Migraine and Headache Relief Program incorporates additional oxygen promoting blood flow to the areas of the brain that require it. And if snoring may be your trigger, my all natural Stop Snoring Program has achieved amazing results.


Christian Goodman has dedicated his career to health research and found solutions to many serious conditions. You can learn more about him on his natural health alternatives blog where you can read about his solutions for several conditions such as hypertension, snoring, and his amazing natural migraine and headache program

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