30 Oct Migraine And Cluster Headaches
Any type of headache can be unpleasant, but migraines and cluster headaches can be some of the worst. Those who suffer from these headaches can be in so much pain that they are not capable of doing anything other than seeking relief in darkened rooms. The pain can be excruciating. When this happens, people seek assistance from pain management professionals.
Pain management clinics often see people who are suffering from migraine headaches. These types of headaches present with throbbing pain, sometimes on only one side of the head. In addition, the person may suffer from vomiting, nausea, and auras. About 20 percent of those with migraines will experience aura symptoms. Auras are visual distortions and may present as blind spots or odd patterns. Individuals may also suffer from hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smell. The onset of aura is prior to the actual headache.
The level of pain experienced with migraines can vary from moderate to very severe, and the headache can last for as long as three days. Many people experience this type of headache 1 to 4 times a month. More women have them than men. It is common for them to run in families according to pain management personnel.
Pain management experts also report that migraines may be triggered by such things as sleep changes, use of birth control pills, eating certain types of food, and menstruation. Diagnosis is done at a pain management clinic and includes taking a careful history and physical exam.
Pain management professionals will often treat the patient with preventative therapies or with abortive therapies. Abortive therapy is used to prevent the attack as soon as the headache begins. Preventive therapy tries to prevent the attack from even occurring, and is used mainly on those patients who have frequent attacks (1 per week or more).
Cluster headaches are not very common, and are seen mostly in males. The are called cluster headaches because they come in clusters and the go away for a period of time. They are painful on only one side of the patient’s head or behind one of the patient’s eyes. Pain management experts say that this is one of the most painful experiences that anyone can feel. Generally, those who have these headaches are in their 30’s or older. They may have no family history of this problem. There is no aura present and the pain often begins after the patient goes to sleep, lasts for an hour or so, disappear for a short period, and the return two or three times a day during the episode period.
Many pain management experts believe that cluster headaches may be triggered by sleep changes, drinking alcohol, use of histamines or nitrates, and high altitude. Cluster headaches must be diagnosed by a pain management expert and treatment is individualized. Those who suffer from these headaches will rarely be able to treat themselves with over-the-counter medications. Also, consultation with a pain management professional is needed because some people have confused this type of headache with sinus headache, and the two are not the same.