Cluster headache, which causes severe pain, is mostly observed in male patients periodically and usually, it is confused with migraine. Most patients are able to diagnose themselves with cluster headache after an internet search.
Actually, both the diagnosis and the treatment is easy.
1 – What is Cluster Headache?
Cluster headache is known as young men’s disease. Usually, it shows itself around the age 20 and comes in attacks in certain times, generally in mid seasons, of the year. Attacks go on for 15-45 days and in each of these, 20-45 minutes. Then comes a long period of peace.
Conventional medicine sees cluster type headache as a disease the cause of which is unknown. However Gökmen Approach say loud and clear that the reason is tooth-jaw complex.
2 – The Severity of Cluster Type Headache
It would not be wrong to say that this is one of the most unbearable pains in the world. Patients usually have hard times trying to describe it but the most common descriptions are: constant stabbing on the temples, a feeling like someone is trying to scratch their eyes out, like someone is branding their eyes or like the eyes are about to explode.
The pain is so severe that the patients smash their heads on walls or have hysteria attacks. That is why this disease is also known as the suicidal headache.
3 – The Rhythm of Cluster Type Headache
All cluster type patients have a rhythm of their own but once the disease becomes chronical, this pattern is broken. Pain comes in the form of attacks in specific times of the year, especially during the seasonal changes.
And it takes 15-45 days. Also there is a daily rhythm as well. Each day, there comes an attack period of 20-45 minutes. Usually, this attack repeats itself around the same time of the day but sometimes there can be up to 8 attacks a day. Then, comes a long period of silence.
4 – Excessive Sweating During the Attacks
Sweating is a distinct symptom of cluster type headache. However, patients focus on describing the pain and thus, do not talk about that unless the physician asks. Still, it is very typical.
Patients get soaked in cold sweat usually above the chest or the painful side of the face.
5 – Distress, Uneasiness and Suffocation
Distress and uneasiness are very common in cluster type headache. During the attacks, patient cannot stand still. They writhe in pain, squeeze their heads, open windows or go out on the balcony.
Here the main reason is oxygen deprivation and the incredible severity of the pain. It is also unbearable for the onlookers.
6 – Vomiting, Diarrhea and Nausea are Rare
These common symptoms of migraine are very rare in cluster type headache. Here, another symptom of the autonomic nervous system, sweating stands out more.
When the attacks take longer than usual, nausea may accompany. In rare cases, days-long diarrhea can be added to the picture with vomiting. Also, patients need to use the bathroom more frequently than usual.
7 – Hypertension
Blood pressure control is an important function of the autonomic nervous system. During cluster type headache attacks, there can be changes in the blood pressure and patients may develop hypertension.
It is rare to develop hypertension during the attack period. Mostly, this is seen in middle-aged cluster type patients. Also, patients may develop ocular hypertension during the attacks.
8 – Momentary Death Wish
Cluster type headache attack cause severe pain and trouble. Patients may even want to die during the attacks and this is true for almost all of them.
This headache is also known as suicidal headache. There are a lot of stories in which, the patients are found with a gun or knife in their hands.
9 – What is the Role of Alcohol in Cluster Type Headache?
Cluster type headache is different than migraine. It has nothing to do with stress or food like migraine. It just has a rhythm of its own and when the time comes, the pain begins. The only trigger is alcohol!
All cluster type patients learn this from the hard way. While in attack period, even the tiniest bit of alcohol can be enough to trigger the ache. Also, while a small group cannot drink alcohol even outside the attack period, this rule apply just for the attack period for most of them.
10 – Do Women Have Cluster Type Headaches?
While the male/female ratio is 1/8 amongst migraine patients, it is the exact opposite for cluster type. Cluster type headache is so rare compared to migraine and also it is mostly seen in men, thus known as men’s disease.
However, the pain is more severe in women and also, it has a tendency of becoming chronic. Until today, my chronic cluster type headache patients and the most severe cases were all women.