The concept of "cluster headache" was derived from the English word cluster( congestion).In people, this pain is called "beam", becauseit is characterized by acute unilateral pain, usually in the field of the temple or eye, which is most often manifested in series over a period of several weeks or months.
Cluster headache is a rare disease that occurs 10 times less frequently than migraine. This ailment is inherent only in men( 90% of patients are men), and in the majority it is men of athletic build at the age from 25 to 35 years.
Headache attacks begin at about the same time. The most dangerous time is the first 2-3 hours after falling asleep. Cluster headache begins to manifest unilateral, piercing spasms in the eye area, or behind it. After a certain period of time, it begins to spread further: on the forehead, cheek, temple, and sometimes even on the jaw. But, in addition to the very headache itself, a variety of secondary symptoms are often observed. Such as lacrimation, excessive sweating, rhinorrhea, eyelid edema, red face and others.
The attack has a progressive character: during the first 5-15 minutes the pain grows very quickly, and then remains low for 30-50 minutes to 3-4 hours;in some cases, the attack can last several days, and sometimes until the symptoms disappear completely, weeks and months pass. However, medicine knows of cases of chronic and prolonged cycles of cluster pain. Throughout the attack the patient feels restless, agitated, because of severe pain, he can moan, rush and scream.
Many patients during the attacks prefer to walk, run, or at least just stand still, becausebeing in the lying position only worsens the condition. Over time, the pain gradually recedes, and the emotional and physical exhaustion comes to replace it. Usually, within one cycle, there are 6 to 10 seizures per day for 5-13 weeks. Then usually there is a long-term remission, which every time lasts longer and longer. And in the end, headaches can disappear altogether.
What are the causes of cluster pain?
The cause of the onset of cluster headaches has still not been found. There are various assumptions about their origin. The most common among them is the genetic predisposition. Therefore, it is especially necessary to be cautious to persons who suffer from this disease from close relatives. Another view is that the cluster headache appears as a result of any changes in a specific area of the brain( hypothalamus).
However, there are also some things that can cause an attack: alcohol abuse, smoking, a strong cold wind, exhausting heat, too bright light. Also, the attack can be triggered by the reception of nicotinic acid, nitroglycerin and other vasodilators.
Cluster headache - treatment of
Unfortunately, at present there is no definite means for completely getting rid of this disease. However, with a competent and responsible approach, treatment can greatly facilitate attacks and shorten their period. Often doctors prescribe to patients during the cluster period to drink such a drug as "Verapamil", it will help prevent the onset of an attack. If the attack does come, an anesthetic may help, the drug Sumatriptan. But still it is better to consult a doctor for an individual selection of treatment taking into account the characteristics of the organism, since all people are individual and can react differently to the same medications.