The second part of the headache series is Cluster headaches.
A cluster headache can be defined by recurrent brief attacks of sudden, severe head pain lasting 4-8 weeks. This headache is normally only on one side of the head with “deep”, or “penetrating” types of pain. They are normally short, frequent attacks during the day.
Cluster headaches can be classified as Episodic or Chronic. The classification has been done by the International Headache Society:
Episodic – Periods/Clusters lasting 7 days – 1 year, there are normally pain free intervals of at least 2 weeks.
Chronic – Clusters that occurs for more than 1 year without remission, these are difficult to treat as it is resistant to standard prophylactic agents.
What causes cluster headaches?
Men aged 20-50 are 5 times more frequent to get these types of headaches. Normally these attacks happen at night and it can disrupt sleep. Possible triggers of these headaches include:
There are various ways a Chiropractor can treat these types of headaches. Chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck, and muscle therapy like massage to the muscles of the neck can prove successful. Stress management and posture evaluation is crucial in managing and prevention of a cluster headache.
Home care includes, rest, Ice/heat therapy, ensure healthy sleep hygiene is maintained. Avoid trigger foods, do not skip meals. Ibuprofen can assist in patients with mild headaches, but for a more natural ways, you can use the following supplements: 5-HTP, omega 3 oils, magnesium and Vitamin B.
The prognosis for these headaches is 80% of the patients with episodic variant tend to maintain the episodic form. Chronic cluster headaches may persist up to 55% of cases. Unfortunately if the headache starts with a late onset in men, there is less favorable prognosis.