Cluster Headache

Overview of Cluster Headache

Cluster Headache Meaning in Urdu

سر درد کی اس قسم کی وجہ سے سر کے ایک حصے میں درد لاحق ہوتا ہے، اس کے علاوہ بعض اوقات آنکھوں کے گرد بھی درد محسوس ہوتا ہے۔ کلسٹر ہیڈک کو سر درد کی سب سے خطرناک قسم سمجھا جاتا ہے جس کی وجہ سے زیادہ تر شدید درد کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ یہ بیماری بہت زیادہ لوگوں کو شکار نہیں بناتی اور یہ جان لیوا بھی نہیں ہے۔ اگر اس بیماری کا بر وقت مؤثر علاج حاصل کیا جائے تو اس درد کی شدت میں کمی لائی جا سکتی ہے۔ اس بیماری کی بنیادی وجوہات تاحال معلوم نہیں کی جا سکی ہیں۔

Cluster headaches (ہسٹامنی سر درد/Hastamani Sar Dard) are characterized by burning pain in one temple or behind the eyes. These pains are usually non-throbbing along with a runny nose and teary eyes. These headaches can last for a long period called the cluster period. The cluster period can extend to six weeks. Cluster headaches are recurrent and occur in episodes. This type of headache is not common and only affects males above age 40. 

Occurrence of Cluster Headache

Cluster headache is most common in males as compared to females. It usually affects people between the ages of 20-40. These headaches occur in 0.1% of the population.

Doctors Treating Cluster Headache

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Signs and Symptoms of Cluster Headache

Some common signs and symptoms of cluster headache may include: 

  • Discomfort or a mild burning feeling
  • A swollen or drooping eye
  • A smaller pupil in the eye
  • Eye redness or watering
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Red, warm face
  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to light

Types of Cluster Headache

Causes of Cluster Headache

A major contributing factor for cluster headaches is not known. However, pain patterns suggest that changes in biological rhythms such as sleeping or waking cycles can cause this pain. During cluster headaches, a nerve known as the trigeminal nerve is stimulated. This nerve induces a sensation of pain or heat in the face area. Some possible triggers could be:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Strong scents

Drinking alcohol during a cluster period can worsen the pain, therefore, people avoid alcohol during this period. Another contributing factor can be nitroglycerin-a medicine used for heart problems.


Risk Factors of Cluster Headache

There are some factors that increase the risks of cluster headaches: 

  • Gender: Males are most likely to develop cluster headaches as compared to females.  
  • Age: Though the condition can affect any age group, people between 20-50 years of age are usually at higher risk. 
  • Smoking: Often smokers are at high risk of developing cluster headaches, but avoiding smoking mostly doesn’t affect the pain.  
  • Alcohol: People who frequently drink alcohol usually develop cluster headaches. Drinking alcohol during this period may increase the intensity of pain.  
  • A Family History: If a family member had a history of cluster headaches, your chances of developing the condition are increased.

Health Complications of Cluster Headaches 

Cluster headaches do not cause brain damage. They are also not life-threatening. But they can interfere with daily life activities. Recurrent and chronic headaches can be a constant nuisance.



Here are some preventive strategies that can prevent the onset of cluster headaches:

  • Strict yourself to a proper sleep schedule 
  • Avoid alcohol misuse 
  • Quit smoking
  • Certain medications which are prescribed by your doctor
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices


A headache can be a symptom of any abnormality or other medical problem. A physician can determine the cause of the disease by inquiring about medical history or physical exam. 

In case of any medical problem the doctor usually orders diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the disease. Common diagnostic tests include:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC blood test that is performed to determine if there is an infection in the body
  • Skull X-Rays: An imaging test to get a detailed image of cranial bones 
  • Sinus X-Rays: An imaging test if the doctor suspects sinusitis
  • Head CT or MRI Scan: CT Scan and MRI Scan are done if stroke, head injury or clotting are suspected

Treatment of Cluster Headache | When to Consult a Doctor

Cluster headaches can’t be treated with a particular medicine or approach. The main aim of treatment is to:

  • Reduce the pain
  • Reduce the headache period
  • Prevention of future attacks

For cluster headaches, fast-acting medicines are generally recommended because pain suddenly comes and might disappear after a short period of time.

There are some therapies that have been proven the best for cluster headaches, such as:

Fast-Acting Medicines

  • Oxygen: Inhaling pure oxygen through a mask can be effective. Its effect can be felt within 15-20 minutes. However, it is inconvenient for the patient to carry the inhaling cylinder everywhere. Therefore, these days portable cylinders are being used. 
  • Triptans: These medications are usually recommended for migraines; however, they can be used for cluster headaches. It can be given in injection form or as nasal sprays. Nasal sprays are usually more effective as compared to injections. Triptans are often not for people having heart problems or high blood pressure.
  • Local Anaesthetics: These anesthetics can be effective for cluster headaches. Lidocaine is an anesthetic that is usually administered intranasally. It has numbing effects. 
  • Octreotide: This is a synthetic form of somatostatin, a brain hormone. It is usually effective for cluster headaches. But overall, it is less effective because it can't relieve pain quickly.

If you experience headaches that are persistent and worrisome, seek medical care and consult a neurologist as soon as possible.