Headaches come in all shapes and sizes—from brutal migraines that pulse steadily for days on end to sinus headaches that make your entire head hurt. Cluster headaches pack a serious pain punch. So what’s with the name? The name comes from the fact that the headache occurs in a cluster of days over several weeks. Cluster headaches are no joke—they can last from 15 minutes to more than three hours! Cluster headache pain is often followed by a runny nose or fever and are common in the winter due to temperature changes.
Combat Cluster Headaches
With the proper steps, you can combat cluster headaches and:
- Relieve the cluster headache
- Prevent future headaches
Here are a few options to help combat cluster headaches:
- Oxygen delivered by a face mask has been shown to help a majority of people who suffer from cluster headaches
- Steroids can be effective to decrease a cluster headache cycle but are for short-term use only—long-term use can lead to complications
- Capsaicin cream—the active ingredient in this cream is cayenne pepper. Apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril that’s on the side of your head when you’re experiencing cluster headache pain. The cream will combat cluster headaches by working to block nerve pain signals.
- A nasal spray medication called dihydroergotamine(DHE) can relieve cluster headache pain within five minutes of use
- Local anesthetics—the numbing effect of local anesthetics such as lidocaine may combat cluster headache pain when given through the nose
- Melatonin—studies show that when taking 10 milligrams of melatonin taken in the evening might reduce the frequency of cluster headaches
- Muscle relaxants may help to stop cluster headaches before they start or help to reduce the frequency of your headaches
- Blood pressure medications—such as propanol—may help relax your blood vessels and in turn combat cluster headaches
If you are experiencing reoccurring headaches of any sort, consult one of our physicians to determine the cause and possible treatment options for you.