Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Health Fusion: Coping with cluster headaches

Cluster headaches can be awful. They're rare, but if you get them, you know they come on fast and hit hard. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares info about treatments from a headache expert.

We are part of The Trust Project.

Bam! Cluster headaches get super intense in seconds.

"Then (there is) 15 to 20 minutes of this pain, which is so severe that patients often cannot sit still. They have to get up, pace around, maybe push on the head or bang things against the head. And then, again, it shuts off like a light switch," says Dr. Carrie Robertson , a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

People who suffer from cluster headaches, which are different than other headaches or migraines, might have up to eight episodes a day for up to 12 months. Then they shut off as abruptly as they started before another cycle begins.

Experts aren't sure what causes cluster headaches. One theory is that an abnormality in your biological clock may be involved. Cluster headaches can happen without a trigger, and they tend to be seasonal, occurring in the fall.

There's no cure for cluster headaches, but treatments are available to decrease the severity of pain, shorten the headache period and prevent the attacks.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cluster headache treatment options may include:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Triptans
  • Local anesthetics

Preventive strategies are medications you take at the very start of a headache and may include:

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation

"We've made a lot of progress in the past 10 years, but we're actively pursuing additional treatments on an ongoing basis," says Dr. Robertson.
Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

Health_Fusion-1400x1400-Sponsor.jpg
Health Fusion logo Sponsor 1400x1400

What to read next
What are your favorite holiday foods? In this NewsMD column, a local chef demonstrates his mother's amazing Christmas lasagna. And Viv Williams explores how holiday food traditions can be good for your health.
West River professor, students study how gratitude affects pain in physical therapy patients
Do you overindulge on Thanksgiving? A lot of people do. It can be hard to resist recipes you only get during the holidays. But if you chow down on foods and drinks that are high in salt, fat or caffeine, you may be at risk of "holiday heart." Viv Williams has details from Mayo Clinic cardiologists in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."
What's on your "what I'm thankful for" list this Thanksgiving? On a trip to Central America, Viv Williams visits a vibrant health clinic and adds the team she met there to her gratitude list. Find out why in this NewsMD, "Health Fusion" column.