Cluster Headache

cluster headache flow osteopathy
Melbourne osteopath Tim discusses what cluster headaches are and how treatment can help.

When anyone living with cluster headache begins their treatment journey, one of the greatest challenges is getting a definite diagnosis. Often, this is because it is misdiagnosed as a migraine. Although migraine is far more common than cluster headache, there are some clear distinguishing factors. Here is a list of the things to pay attention to when determining whether or not you have cluster headache.

Symptoms of Cluster Headaches vs. Migraine

  • The non-painful symptoms tend to be slightly different. Migraine pain often presents with symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to sound and light. On the other hand, cluster headaches will present with one or more of: watery eyes, a runny nose, drooping eyelid, swelling in the eyelid or forehead sweating.
  • People with migraine tend to get relief from laying down in a dark room. This isn’t often the case with cluster headaches, where individuals tend to be very restless and have a hard time lying still.
  • People with cluster headaches usually have long periods of time between attacks in comparison to migraine. When an episode of cluster headaches begins, the attacks are often a string of intense, frequent bouts of pain (1-8 per day). Following this though there may be months or even years before another attack (1).

Interestingly, unlike migraine men are affected 3 times more than women.

Treatment For Cluster Headaches

It is very important to have an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan when working with cluster headaches. All too often it is confused as migraine and the treatments can be inappropriate and ineffective.

Optimum treatment for all primary headache disorders is holistic and patient-centered. This means understanding all the ways that you can improve your symptoms and finding what works best for you.

At Flow, we are passionate about helping people determine whether their upper neck is contributing to their cluster headaches. We can create significant, sustainable improvements to this aspect of the headache puzzle.

Beyond this, we can assist in finding a team of health professionals to help you continue to investigate all possible solutions.

For more information on how we can help, visit the headache and migraine page.

  1. American Migraine Foundation, ‘Cluster Headaches’, April 2019
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