Did you know that there are more than 300 types of headaches? While the most common, the tension headache, occurs in 75% of adults and is typically due to stress, muscle or joint pain or fatigue, less common types of headaches routinely send people to the doctor or cause loss of work and play. Cluster headaches, though rare, affecting only one to two people in every 1,000, are among the most severely painful headaches and can be difficult to treat. However, there are more options today than ever before to treat cluster headaches and even a non-profit organization, Clusterbusters, that is dedicated to finding the best treatments.
Understanding Cluster Headaches
The most common headache of a group of headache disorders known as trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, cluster headaches get their name because they occur in groups or clusters… sometimes up to eight times per day in a severe attack. Some bouts of cluster headaches may last for a week to months, followed by a remission period. However, for those who suffer from chronic cluster headaches, there is no remission period. Sometimes referred to as suicide headaches because they are the most painful type of headache, the pain associated with a cluster headache occurs on one side of the head and can come with symptoms that occur on the same side of the head as the pain and may include teary eye, runny or stuffy nose, or even a droopy eyelid. Cluster headaches also often occur overnight, waking people from sleep.
Although there is no definitive answer as to what causes cluster headaches, some experts believe that the hypothalamus plays a role. While more men that women suffer from cluster headaches, the number of occurrences in women is on the rise. And although smokers experience more cluster headaches than non-smokers, these types of headaches are generally not tied to food or stress triggers.
Treating Cluster Headaches
As with many conditions, treatment of cluster headaches has historically relied heavily on drug therapies. These drugs not only come with a variety of serious side effects; they also are not always effective. Finding more effective and less harmful ways to treat these headaches is in demand. One treatment option that has shown to be very effective is the use of oxygen. Not only one of the safest ways to treat a cluster headache, it is fast acting, taking effect in 15 to 20 minutes. In addition, chiropractic adjustments can be targeted to reduce pain and provide relief. Chiropractic Neurology offers an even more comprehensive approach as Chiropractic Neurologists are experts in the brain/ nervous system connection and can design a care plan that is tailored specifically to the patient’s needs.
Talking with Your Doctor
If you have just begun to have cluster headaches, or if you have a sudden and severe headache or headache with fever, nausea, confusion, or a headache that gets worse with time, see your doctor as soon as possible. If you would like to know more about how Chiropractic Neurology can help you find relief for cluster headaches, chronic pain or many other conditions, contact the team at Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.