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Cluster headache

Cluster headache: Introduction

A cluster headache is a type of headache that is severe and recurring and generally occurs on one side of the head. Cluster headaches occur in "clusters" of episodes that recur over days or weeks. Cluster headaches can be severe enough to disrupt everyday life, such as work, school, relationships, and social activities. Additional symptoms of cluster headaches can affect the eye and nose as well. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of cluster headache.

Cluster headaches are often, but not always, triggered by one or more specific substances or situations. These can vary from person to person. Common triggers include alcohol, stress, smoking, hormonal changes, diseases of the hypothalamus, changing the normal sleep pattern, and certain medications, such as nitroglycerin. Cluster headaches are more common in men than in women.

Making a diagnosis of cluster headache includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history, including symptoms, and physical examination. This includes a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the brain and nerves and such functions as level of consciousness, reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.

Because cluster headaches may cause redness of the eye on the affected side, an eye examination is performed to rule-out such eye conditions as conjunctivitis. Other tests, such as CT scan of the brain, may be performed to help rule-out more serious neurological diseases and conditions with similar symptoms, such as stroke. In some cases, a referral to a neurologist, a specialist in treating neurological conditions, may be needed for definitive diagnosis and treatment of cluster headaches.

The diagnostic process also involves keeping a cluster headache log or diary to record the timing, symptoms, and the types of situations that occurred or substances that were ingested before the cluster headache occurred. This can help to diagnose triggers and assist in making lifestyle changes that can minimize cluster headaches. The type of treatment and its results are also recorded to help pinpoint the most effective treatment for an individual.

It is possible that a diagnosis of cluster headache can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as migraine, stroke and sinusitis. For more information on diseases and conditions that can mimic cluster headache, refer to misdiagnosis of cluster headache.

Patient compliance with a good treatment plan can control symptoms of cluster headaches to a degree that allows a person to live a normal active life. Treatment plans include medications and avoiding substances and situations that can trigger a cluster headache. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cluster headache....more »

Cluster headache: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of cluster headache may be overlooked or delayed because cluster episodes may not occur very often. In addition, some symptoms, such as severe headache, red eyes, and runny nose, can mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as a stroke, meningitis, transient ischemia attack, tension headache, brain tumor, sinusitis, upper respiratory infection, ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Cluster headache:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Cluster headache. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Cluster headache: Causes

Home Diagnostic Testing and Cluster headache

Home medical tests possibly related to Cluster headache:

Cluster headache Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for cluster headache uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific triggers, frequency, and severity of the cluster headache, the patient's age, medical history, and other factors.

Treatment of cluster headache begins with prevention. This includes diagnosing and avoiding the underlying triggers ...Cluster headache Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Cluster headache may include:

  • Medications
  • Sumatriptan
  • Dihydroergotamine (injected) - a form of ergotamine tartrate
  • Methysergide
  • Corticosteroids - pills or injections
  • Oxygen inhalation
  • Facial nerve surgery
  • During the onset of a cluster headache, some patients respond to rapid inhalation of pure oxygen(12-15 litres per minute in a non-rebreathing mask)
  • more treatments...»

Review further information on Cluster headache Treatments.

Stories from Users for Cluster headache

Real-life user stories relating to Cluster headache:

Cluster headache: Animations

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Cluster headache

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Cluster headache:

Misdiagnosis and Cluster headache

Migraine an undiagnosed cause of headache: It is surprising that many migraine sufferers are not initially diagnosed. Although the condition is fairly well known, there are also many other causes of headache, and the more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), for which the symptoms are more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety of more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis of migraine or introduction more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, fatigue, headache, weight gain, diabetes-like more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of more »

Cluster headache: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Cluster headache: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Cluster headache: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Definitions of Cluster headache:

A syndrome characterized by daily episodes of intense periorbital pain that recur over a period of 6-12 weeks that may be followed by a period of remission of months to years. The pain is non-throbbing, has a duration of 30-60 minutes and tends to occur at night or at regular intervals during the day. Unilateral rhinorrhea, conjunctival injection, lacrimation, facial flushing, and miosis frequently accompany the headaches, which primarily affect young adult males. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p181)
- (Source - Diseases Database)

A painful recurring headache associated with the release of histamine from cells
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Detailed list of causes of Cluster headache

The list below shows some of the causes of Cluster headache mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Cluster headache?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Cluster headache. Of the 5 causes of Cluster headache that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 1 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 4 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cluster headache:

The following list of conditions have 'Cluster headache' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cluster headache or choose View All.

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What are the alternative names for Cluster headache:

Bing-Horton neuralgia, Horton syndrome
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Classifications of Cluster headache:

Medical Conditions associated with Cluster headache:

Head symptoms (10192 causes), Pain symptoms (6458 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes)

Symptoms related to Cluster headache:

Migraine (37 causes), Headache (2433 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Ptosis (72 causes), Rhinnorhea, 100 % oxygen

Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

These general medical articles may be of interest:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Cluster headache

Medical research papers related to Cluster headache include:

Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Cluster headache:

More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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