Cluster Headache Clinic

What is a cluster headache?

Cluster headaches or Suicide headaches are characterized by one-sided attacks that come on quickly, reaching their peak in a few minutes. It is generally considered to be the most painful medical condition and people feel like killing themselves and hence the name suicide headaches. The pain is usually focused around the eye socket/temple. In an episodic form, attacks occur daily over weeks or months and then stop as suddenly and go away for weeks, months, or even years.  In some cases, the attacks occur regularly with less pain-free remission. Usual symptoms during an attack may include:

  • Reddening and watering of the eye
  • A runny or blocked nostril
  • Drooping/swollen eyelid
  • Flushing and facial sweating
  • Restlessness/rocking/pacing up and down/extreme agitation

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Excluding Migraine Mimics

The term “cluster headache” does not imply all headaches which occur in clusters. Thus misdiagnosis becomes a big issue. People suspected of cluster headache should be evaluated to make sure it is not a mimic and to make sure they do not have any headache disorder which can mimic cluster headache such as:

  • Migraine with prominent autonomic features
  • Paroxysmal hemicrania
  • Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with red-eye and tearing
  • Hemicrania continua
  • Eye diseases
  • Brain tumours
  • Diseases of blood vessels in the brain
    Obstructive sleep apnea