Patient's Complete Guide to Cluster Headache

Overview of Cluster Headache

The treatment of conjunctivitis depends upon the type of conjunctivitis a person is suffering from.

Home Remedies

Pink eye can be treated by following home remedies such as:

  • Use of eye drops or artificial tears
  • Cleaning of eyelids with a wet cloth
  • Frequent application of warm or cold compresses daily
  • Disinfection of eye lenses
  • Discard lenses accessories used during infection
  • Discard makeup used during infection

Antiviral Medications

These medications are recommended if conjunctivitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Treatment for Allergic Conjunctivitis

In case of allergen-induced conjunctivitis, eye drops are recommended, including

  • Antihistamines
  • Mast cell stabilizers

Some inflammation controlling drugs include:

  • Decongestants
  • Steroids
  • Anti-inflammatory drops

If you experience any signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis that are persistent and worrisome seek medical care as soon as possible.

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

Causes of Cluster Headache

A major contributing factor for cluster headache 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 headache:

  • 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 risks.
  • Smoking: Often smokers are at high risks 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.

Prevention

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

  1. Strict yourself to a proper sleep schedule
  2. Avoid alcohol misuse
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Certain medications which are prescribed by your doctor
  5. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Diagnosis

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 blood test that is performed to determine if there is an infection in the body
  • Skull X-Rays: An imaging test to get the detailed image of cranial bones
  • Sinus X-Rays: An imaging test if the doctor suspects sinusitis
  • Head CT or MRI Scan: 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 proved 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 anaesthetics can be effective for cluster headaches. Lidocaine is an anaesthetic 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 as soon as possible.

Speciality for Cluster Headache

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