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First Published Thursday, 14 May 2009


There appear to be a great many on the autism spectrum and within spectrum families who suffer from headaches in their various forms. For those dealing with daily cluster-type headaches, I feel and share your pain. There are some wonderful websites filled with the latest information and with built-in support forums on the net these days. Please remember that no matter what type of headache you have, the most important thing is that you see a health care professional for treatment. Self-diagnoses of head-pain can be life threatening.

Types of Migraines & Headaches


Symptoms & Types

What’s your headache pattern? Frequent headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraines. Learn the symptoms and types — and then talk to a doctor.


Common Migraine and Headache Symptoms

Not all headaches are the same and symptoms vary. See what yours mean. Are your headache symptoms from a migraine?

Learn About What Happens During a Migraine

Our doctors at eMedicinehealth.com outline the five phases of migraine.

Warning Signs

Severe Headache or Medical Emergency?

Learn these warning signs and when to head for the hospital or call a headache specialist.

Know What to Do About Severe Headaches

Check these 12 symptoms of headache emergency from our doctors at eMedicinehealth.com.


Cluster Headaches

Does severe headache pain attack you in cycles? You may have cluster headaches.

Related Guide: Types of Migraine Headaches

Did you know that migraines can exist with other conditions? Learn about the different types of migraine headaches. See who gets them and what conditions can be associated them.

Sinus Headaches

Got sinus headache pain? Get some answers.

Tension Headaches

Get some answers about tension headaches here.


Have Frequent Migraines Become a Daily Problem?

Learn about “transformed headaches” – migraine headaches that become a daily menace.

Rebound Headaches: Who Gets These Frequent Headaches?

Rebound headaches happen when you misuse or overuse pain relievers. Here’s what to do.

Migraine With Aura Ups Heart Risk

Women who have migraines with auras disturbance have an increased risk of heart disease.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/migraines-headaches-symtpoms-types

Image result for cluster headache images


Cluster Headaches

Cluster headache, nicknamed “suicide headache“, is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain. “Cluster” refers to the tendency of these headaches to occur periodically, with active periods interrupted by spontaneous remissions. The cause of the disease is currently unknown. It affects approximately 0.1% of the population, and men are more commonly affected than women.


What Are Cluster Headaches?

Although many people have never heard of cluster headaches, they are possibly the most debilitating of all headaches. The pain is excruciating, and because they do happen fairly predictably in a pattern, there is the added stress of the anticipation of that pain. Perhaps they aren’t as well known as migraines because only about one percent of the population suffers from them, men more than women by 4:1, but even so there are probably one million Americans victimized by these headaches.

If you have cluster headaches, let me hasten to direct you to a support group at http://www.clusterheadaches.com. The webmaster is a 32 year old career Air Force man who has suffered from cluster headaches since he was 18 years old. In short, he knows whereof he speaks, and the thousands of people who have added their stories to the message board can certainly help you in those moments when you feel terribly alone in your pain. Nobody understands as well as someone who has been there.

You can also click on to “Ask Doc Greg” on this website to learn interesting facts or ask questions of this doctor and cluster headache sufferer who studied at Johns Hopkins and received his M.D. from George Washington University. He answers with knowledge and compassion, in plain English – no medical gobbledygook.

Cluster headaches are quite unlike migraines although they also typically affect one side of the head. They are thought to be caused by the release of serotonin (histamine), but antihistamines don’t help. They are not hereditary. Many people who suffer from cluster headaches have a history of heavy smoking, another good reason to stop smoking. Alcohol can trigger a cluster headache, even before you finish one drink.

They happen quickly, often awakening the person from sleep. The pain is intense. In fact, mothers have said it’s worse than the pain of natural childbirth, and men have said it feels like being stabbed in the eye with an ice pick or being grabbed by the talons of a huge bird.

Along with the pain comes drooping of the eyelid, excessive tearing and bloodshot appearance on the affected side, plus nasal congestion, and the person is agitated and unable to remain still. At the height of the pain, which is reached within five to fifteen minutes, the person will commonly bang his head on the furniture or anything solid, and some victims have actually committed suicide. Each headache lasts between a few minutes and an hour or more before disappearing as fast as it began.

The pattern of the clusters is either episodic or chronic. Episodic cluster headaches happen daily, sometimes several a day, for a few weeks or months and then go into remission for a period of months or years. They often happen in spring or fall, but are not connected with allergies. About ten percent of cluster headache sufferers have chronic clusters which happen for a year or more without relief.

You can imagine that if you are enduring several of these ordeals each day for a period of weeks, unable to sleep because you fear waking up with this terrible pain, everything in your life suffers. Your spouse, unable to help except for occasionally driving you to the emergency room, is subject to a high level of stress too and your marriage may suffer. You are likely too tired to do your job well, and every other aspect of your life may be consumed by the stress and anxiety caused by your headaches.

On top of all that, you tell your boss or your friend that you have cluster headaches and they say, “Oh, that’s a shame. I have some awful headaches too, and sometimes aspirin just doesn’t do the trick.” You probably have murderous fantasies about such people, but they simply don’t understand.

About the only thing a cluster headache sufferer can do is talk with his doctor about the various preventative medications available. Sometimes they do work, although not everyone benefits from them. The doctor may prescribe one medication to help prevent cluster headaches and another to take during the headache. In another article we’ll discuss the drugs and other treatments being used now.

Other than that, regular sleep habits, avoiding alcohol during a cluster, and trying to reduce the stress in your life can be of some help. Several of the websites I’ve listed for this page have helpful information about clusters, but for these frightening, excruciating headaches you really need to see your doctor and discuss what you can do to cope.

Source: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/headaches/29295/1

Cluster Headaches Worldwide Support Group


From clusterheadaches.com “A Neurologist that I saw once gave me some information to take home from one of her medical books. To this day, it is still the BEST information that I have ever seen on Cluster Headaches…it’s awesome!

Even if you have suffered from Clusters your entire life and think you’ve read it all, you will find this info most interesting! It is quite a bit of reading, and quite difficult to follow at times, but well worth your time. Probably the easiest way to read it is if you print it out and read it when you get the chance.”:


Cluster Headache Survey:


“Water, Water, Water – The following information was written by Margi, the wife of a cluster headache sufferer. It has grown to be know simply as the “water treatment”. We’ve had so many requests for it that it has become it’s own page so you don’t have to search through all of the posts in the archives to find it.

It won’t work for everyone and may not work for you, but it may be worth a try. After all, it’s FREE!”:


Typical Traits of a Cluster Headache:


The Kip Cluster Headache Pain Scale:


Headache Links(Cluster & Other Types):


altered: migraine

Paroxymsal Hemicrania – The Basics

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

In the simplest of terms, paroxysmal hemicrania (PH) is a rare form of headache that usually begins in adulthood.

Characteristics of the pain of PH

  • *severe throbbing

  • *claw-like, or boring

  • *usually on one side of the face; in, around, or behind the eye

  • *occasionally reaching to the back of the neck

The pain of PH may be accompanied by:

  • *red and tearing eyes (lacrimation)

  • *a drooping or swollen eyelid on the affected side of the face

  • *nasal congestion

  • *dull pain, soreness, or tenderness between attacks

Episodes of paroxysmal hemicrania typically occur from 5 to 40 times per day and last 2 to 45 minutes. The disorder has two forms:

  1. 1. Chronic PH: patients experience attacks on a daily basis for a year or more

  2. 2. Episodic PH: the headaches may remit for months or years

Certain movements of the head or neck or external pressure to the neck may trigger these headaches in some patients. The disorder is more common in women than in men.

Is there any treatment?
The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin often provides complete relief from symptoms. Other less effective NSAIDs including celecoxib (Celebrex), calcium-channel blocking drugs (such as verapamil), and corticosteroids may be used to treat the disorder. Patients with both paroxysmal hemicrania and trigeminal neuralgia (a condition of the 5th cranial nerve that causes sudden, severe pain typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek) should receive treatment for each disorder.

What is the prognosis?
Many patients experience complete to near-complete relief of symptoms following physician-supervised medical treatment. Paroxysmal hemicrania may last indefinitely but has been known to go into remission or stop spontaneously.

Information from the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition, is the best description of CP available:

3.2 Paroxysmal hemicrania
Attacks with similar characteristics of pain and associated symptoms and signs to those of cluster headache, but they are shorter-lasting, more frequent, occur more commonly in females and respond absolutely to indomethacin.

Diagnostic criteria:

  1. 1.  At least 20 attacks fulfilling criteria B–D

  2. 2.  Attacks of severe unilateral orbital, supraorbital or temporal pain lasting 2–30 minutes

  3. 3.  Headache is accompanied by at least one of the following:

    1. 1.  ipsilateral (on the same side as the headache) conjunctival injection (The forcing of a fluid into the conjuctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids.) and/or lacrimation (tearing)

    2. 2.  ipsilateral nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhoea (runny nose)

    3. 3.  ipsilateral eyelid oedema (swelling)

    4. 4.  ipsilateral forehead and facial sweating

    5. 5.  ipsilateral miosis (abnormal contraction of the pupils) and/or ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)

  4. 6.  Attacks have a frequency above 5 per day for more than half of the time, although periods with lower frequency may occur

  5. 7.  Attacks are prevented completely by therapeutic doses of indomethacin (Note 1)

  6. 8.  Not attributed to another disorder (Note 2)


  1. 1.  In order to rule out incomplete response, indomethacin should be used in a dose of 150mg or more daily orally or rectally, or 100 mg or by injection, but for maintenance smaller doses are often sufficient.

  1. 2.  History and physical and neurological examinations do not suggest any of the disorders listed in groups 5–12, or history and/or physical and/or neurological examinations do suggest such disorder but it is ruled out by appropriate investigations, or such disorder is present but attacks do not occur for the first time in close temporal relation to the disorder.


There is no male predominance. Onset is usually in adulthood, although childhood cases are reported. In the first edition all paroxysmal hemicranias were referred to as chronic paroxysmal hemicrania. Sufficient clinical evidence for the episodic subtype has accumulated to separate it in a manner analogous to cluster headache.

Paroxysmal hemicrania with coexistent trigeminal neuralgia (CPH-tic syndrome): Patients who fulfill criteria for both 3.2 Paroxysmal hemicrania and 13.1 Trigeminal neuralgia should receive both diagnoses. The importance of this observation is that both conditions require treatment. The pathophysiological significance of the association is not yet clear.

Summary and comments:

Paroxysmal Hemicrania (PH) is rare and difficult to treat. In most cases, patients with PH should seek care from a headache and Migraine specialist. Some of the symptoms, to an untrained practitioner could be mistaken for cluster headache. The response to indomethacin is one confirmation of a PH diagnosis. However, indomethacin is not well tolerated by some patients. If that occurs, other less effective NSAIDs including celecoxib (Celebrex), calcium-channel blocking drugs (such as verapamil), and corticosteroids may be used.

Also see:

Source: http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/types-of-headaches-271536-5.html

Paroxysmal Hemicrania – a Comprehensive View:


Women and Tension Headaches
Women are highly susceptible to tension headaches, due to high-stress careers, motherhood, and the demands of homemaking. Learn more about this type of headache.
women and tension headaches • high-stress careers • fast-paced lives • what are tension headaches • symptoms of tension headaches

Women and Headaches
How headaches effect the health of women.
women • headaches • cluster headaches • migrane headaches • migranes

For the Latest Headache News …


Latest Research

“Abstract: The relationship between migraine and mental disorders”:


“Abstract: Migraine in Recurrent Depression”:


“Migraine Uncovered: Interview with Dr. Cady, Headache Expert”:


“Persistent Migraine Aura: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes”:



comments (1)

1. BxL left…

Friday, 16 July 2010 2:00 pm

I get a headache about twice a week. The cause has to be stress. I usually put pressure and massage the spots that hurt. That doesn’t work every time, but it surely helps.

Read more about frequent headaches at http://www.frequent-headaches.com/