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Cluster headache is a severe, debilitating pain that attacks one cluster of the head, usually above an eyelid or at the temple. The pain is usually characterized as being repeatedly stabbed in the eye with an ice pick. When the pain attacks, one may notice the drooping of the lids from the affected eye as well as nasal congestion on the affected side.
The pain of a cluster headache is no joke. It tends to be so sever that some people say that it is nothing compared to things like childbirth or migraines. At the height of a cluster headache attack, even morphine does very little to assuage the pain. This piece of information is from the few individuals who have actually been correctly diagnosed with cluster headache.
Usually, severe headaches are just thought to be migraines but unfortunately remain understood and untreated. It is very important to correctly diagnose cluster headache because it is extremely painful and debilitating and it has a tendency to attack for a few minutes to a few hours.
The difficulty in realizing that it is cluster headache instead of migraine is that sometimes, people who suffer from cluster headache also experience the usual nausea and sensitivity to light that migraine sufferers experience. You can tell that it is cluster headache though from the fact that its attacks follow a pattern.
There is such a thing as chronic and episodal cluster headache. Actually, one who suffers from cluster headache can experience switches from chronic to episodal attacks and vice versa. The chronic attacks can easily be noticed because the cluster headache attacks at the same time everyday for several weeks and even months.
Episodal cluster headache attacks are episodes that happen also at the same time everyday for a few days or weeks and goes into long remission states. While the suffering from cluster headaches is benign, there have been reported cases of actual suicides from the extreme pain.
This is why it is quite important that if you feel that you or a loved one may be suffering from attacks of cluster headaches, do get yourselves diagnosed properly and receive treatment. Consult with your doctor and find out some of the triggers of a cluster headache and avoid them.
Also, at the onset of a cluster headache, one can actually get treatment that can abate the attack. For instance it has been reported that inhalation of pure oxygen at the onset of an attack will abate the assault of cluster headache.