Headaches can range in severity from a mild pain to debilitating pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. These headaches are the result of tension, stretching of the membranes around the brain, the blood vessels and muscles of the scalp. The good news is that no matter how painful, they are not usually a sign of any underlying disorder.
Any headache which is worse upon awakening, or wakens one during the night, and which comes on suddenly and severely should be checked by a doctor.
A migraine can be very painful, often sending the victim to the emergency room for added pain relief. As painful as a migraine can be, those who suffer from Cluster headaches claim that migraines are just child’s play in comparison. Experts have suggested that cluster headaches are the most painful condition known to mankind.
Cluster headache, far more painful than even the worse migraine has also been termed “suicide headache,” so named because of the high rate of suicide associated with this condition. The condition is named “cluster” because these headaches occur periodically; often daily; relieved by periods of remission.
Cluster headaches are suffered by 0.1% of the population, and they attack men more often than women. Women have claimed that an attack is worse than giving birth, except once a woman has given birth she is done. A cluster headache would be like a woman giving birth daily over and over and over again.
The most common triggers of headaches, including migraines include alcohol (hangover), drugs, eyestrain, dental issues, allergies, head injuries, neck and spinal misalignments, depression, anxiety, stress, sinusitus, weather conditions and fever. Some drugs such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may be the cause of a migraine.
Headaches with a more serious underlying condition are rare, but include:
*hypertension (High Blood pressure)
*temporal arteritis (inflammation of the arteries of the neck, face and scalp)
*aneurysm (ballooning of a blood vessel)
You should always report chronic headaches to your doctor to rule out these serious conditions.
Unlike some serious headaches, cluster headaches are not caused by underlying brain conditions. The biochemical cause of cluster headaches is not known, however what is known is that the headaches occur when a nerve pathway in the base of the brain is activated. Imaging studies have shown stimulation of the hypothalamus during an attack (Hypothalamus is our internal biologic clock which regulates our sleep and wake cycles).
Twenty percent of people who suffer from cluster headaches have the chronic condition, which is described as having less than 14 headache free days a year; on top of that a person who suffers with clusters could also have migraines. If a never-ending Hell could be described, this condition would be it.
This is what would generally describe a cluster headache:
* Intense and severe pain often described as burning or piercing
* Located behind one eye or in the eye region which may radiate to the forehead, temple, nose, cheek.
* The pain usually lasts between 30 to 90 minutes, but anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours have been reported.
* Most sufferers report one to three headaches per day during a cluster period, and they tend to happen generally around the same time everyday.
* 80-90% have episodic clusters headaches that last seven days to one year, separated by pain-free days of 14 days or more.
* The pain of a cluster comes on suddenly, but there are certain signs that one might be coming on. These are: A mild one-sided burning sensation, The eye on the side of the headache may get swollen and droop, nasal discharge, tearing of the eye, excessive sweating, flushing and light sensitivity.
The orthodox treatment for a migraine include:
* Determining the cause and address it so that future attacks can be avoided, for instance if it is because neck and spine are out of alignment, the doctor will recommend going to the Chiropractor for an adjustment. If it is depression or stress, the doctor will recommend stress relieving techniques and so forth.
* In color therapy, restful green colors have proven helpful for headaches.
* If headaches are caused by unexpressed anger and resentment a hypnotherapist may use regression to uncover the source in order to release the emotions.
* Massage releases muscular tension
* Yoga offers gentle relaxation and breathing techniques
* An herbalist will concentrate on the herbs given to reduce inflammation
* A Reflexologist will address the areas of the head, neck, solar plexus, spine, pituitary and digestive system.
* A nutritionist will recommend identifying problem foods, liver cleanses and herbs to restore liver function.
The general treatment for Cluster headache is:
* Abortive medications-this includes breathing oxygen through a face mask for twenty minutes and Imitrex injections.
* Preventative medications-To shorten the length of the cluster headache period, and to decrease the severity. Some medications used for prevention are lithium, prednisone (short term only), verapamil, divalproex sodium, and ergotamine tartrate
* Surgery – an option for people with chronic cluster headaches who can’t be helped with standard therapy. This procedure involves blocking the nerve felt responsible for the pain, called the trigeminal nerve.
* All drugs should be used only under a doctors supervision
Natural remedies for headaches and migraines include eating:
* Brussel sprouts
Natural Herbs include:
* California poppy
* Lemon Balm
Nutrients and Phytochemicals include:
* Vitamin B2
* Alpha-linolenic acid
* Vitamin D
* Omega-3 fatty acids
* Amino acids
For a more comprehensive list go to:
Natural remedies for a Cluster headache include:
* Avoiding alcohol
* Quitting smoking
* Avoiding nitrates in food, such as hotdogs and other processed meats
* Avoiding stress
* Plenty of sleep
* Living in lower altitudes where the oxygen is more abundant
Accupressure and acupuncture have been shown to be helpful for some people, as these remedies target nerve centers which will help release stress and remove toxins from the body. Others have claimed relief through hypnotherapy, yoga and other exercises which promote deep breathing.
Supplementing with melatonin has been found to be helpful, as it appears that cluster headaches often occur in people with low melatonin levels.
Some people have claimed that putting a dash of cayenne pepper inside the affected nostril can relieve pain for extended periods. However, the nasal passage is sensitive and cayenne pepper is potent, so you must only try this under the supervision of your doctor.
That people can live through this kind of pain repeatedly drives me crazy with compassion. I can’t even imagine what it must be like, and I would be lying if I said I could. For me, getting rid of a headache is as close as walking to the medicine cabinet and taking a Tylenol.
I asked my friend Alan G, who is an expert on cluster headaches, not because he is a Scientist or a doctor but because he has suffered from them for 17 years. I asked Alan what a person suffering from a cluster headache would like his loved ones to know. This is what he said:
“What can they do for me? Be patient with me until the pain goes away, and don’t reject me because of it.
What can be done ? Absolutely nothing, except when the pain goes away a cup of coffee would be nice.
Whats most helpful? Nothing is helpful, except maybe being quiet and not engaging in conversation or asking questions because all the persons inner resources are being used to combat the pain. Maybe sitting quietly near them in support would be nice. What would I want those who loved me to know? That I will be okay once the pain goes away and not to worry. One final thing, when in pain make sure all firearms are out of reach. the pain is so intense that stupidity sometimes seems like rational thinking out of sheer desperation.”
Alan also suggests that you not touch a person who is suffering with this intense form of pain, unless they give the okay for a shoulder massage. He says, “Hugs are out of the question as you will lose concentration on battling pain, and experience more pain.” Saliva also gets thick like peanut butter, and it feels as if you are choking.
If you are suffering from cluster headaches you need support from those who love you. I highly recommend this website. www.clusterheadaches.com This is the place where cluster headache sufferers go to join with a family of other sufferers, who support each other in what can only be described as hell on earth.
Natural Remedies for Cluster Headaches | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/way_5170603_natural-remedies-cluster-headaches.html#ixzz15IUZZgnv
Natural Remedies for Cluster Headaches | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/way_5170603_natural-remedies-cluster-headaches.html#ixzz15IVbOofL