Cluster Headaches

This fortunately fairly uncommon disorder involves the sudden onset of a very painful sensation generally on one side of the head. The pain may be extremely acute – so intense that “I feel like killing myself, the pain is so severe” is an expression often heard from the patient.

The pain comes on abruptly, but subsides just as quickly, leaving little aftermath. There may be a reddening of the eye on the affected side, and stuffiness of the nostrils; the eye may water. Often the pain is around the eye, and may radiate out to the temple, nose, upper jaw and neck.

All the simple analgesics are usually ineffective. The most effective remedy is ergotamine tartrate, given either orally, by suppository in the rectum, or by injection. Often the patient may be entrusted to administer the medication once the best manner of carrying this out is understood, and the oral route is usually adequate. Some find inhalation of pure oxygen gives prompt relief.