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Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches are rare when compared with other types of headaches. The pain they produce is severe and tends to recur in the same way each time. Cluster Headaches are often considered the worst of the primary headache disorders. 

What are Cluster Headaches?

Cluster Headaches are defined by onset of several headaches (a 'cluster' of headaches) through a relatively short period of time. A defining characteristic of a Cluster Headache is a headache every 24 hours for 6-12 weeks at a time. These headaches can be quite severe, lasting anywhere from minutes to hours, and usually affect the areas around your eye and the side of your head

Cluster Headaches

Signs and Symptoms of Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches can also be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Facial sweating
  • Swelling in the eyelids
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light

Causes of Cluster Headaches

A Cluster Headache occurs when a nerve pathway in the base of the brain is triggered. The nerve that's affected, the trigeminal nerve, is responsible for sensations such as heat or pain in the face. It's near the eye and it branches up to the forehead, across the cheek, down the jaw, and above the ear on the same side. It is unknown how the trigeminal nerve is triggered.

Researchers believe that abnormalities in the hypothalamus, a small area of the brain that regulates body temperature, blood pressure, sleep, and the release of hormones, may be responsible for Cluster Headaches.

Cluster Headaches may also be caused by a sudden release of the chemicals histamine, which fight allergens, or serotonin, which regulates mood.

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Cluster Headaches

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Shoulder Recovery Program

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