What you need to know about
Cluster headaches are a succession of brief but excruciatingly painful headaches that occur on a daily basis for weeks or months at a time. They usually appear at the same time every year, such as in the spring or fall. As a result, cluster headaches are frequently misdiagnosed as allergies or work stress.
Experts aren’t sure what causes them, but they involve a nerve in your face, which produces excruciating agony around one of your eyes. It’s so awful that most people can’t sit still during an attack and will often pace. Cluster headaches are more severe than migraine headaches, however, they usually last less time.
These are the rarest types of headaches, affecting less than one person in 1,000. Men are more likely to get them than women. They usually begin before the age of 30. Cluster headaches may go gone for months or years (this is known as remission), but they can return at any time without notice.
When a neuronal route in the base of your brain is triggered, you get a cluster headache. That signal appears to originate in the hypothalamus, which houses the “internal biological clock” that regulates your sleep and waking cycles.
The trigeminal nerve, which is damaged, is responsible for facial feelings such as heat and pain. On the same side as your eye, it branches up to your forehead, across your cheek, down your jaw, and over your ear.
These headaches aren’t caused by a brain ailment like a tumour or aneurysm.