Expert warns: don’t confuse cluster headaches with migraines!

SHAFAQNA Türkiye – A specialist in neurology at Medicana Çamlıka Hospital, stating that pain that develops only on one side around the eyes and is not observed for several months, despite frequent recurrences in some periods, is defined as a cluster headache. Dr. Selda Ozshahin said: “This cluster type of pain, which can sometimes start 1-2 hours after falling asleep at night, is a very severe pain that starts in the forehead or eye and spreads to the cheek. During pain, symptoms such as lacrimation and redness of the eyes, drooping of the eyelid can be observed. Cluster headaches are called cluster headaches because the pain clusters together over a period of time. Periods of pain can last from one to four months, and there can be intervals of months or even years between cluster periods. While migraine or tension headaches can be triggered by stress or hormonal changes, cluster headaches are not associated with triggers.

It is 5 times more common in women.

exp. Dr. Ozshahin continued:

“Classic headaches, which are 5 times more common in men than in women, recur in the following hours, although it takes from half an hour to 1 hour after their onset. These periodic attacks continue at regular intervals throughout the day and into subsequent weeks. The intensity of the pain can be very difficult to bear at times. Cluster headaches form their own cycle, repeating continuously for 24 hours a day or during certain seasons of the year. Among the causes of this type of pain are sleep and eating disorders, improper placement of wisdom teeth in the mouth, improper root canal treatment, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. People with cluster headaches should avoid drinking alcohol during attacks. In addition, drugs such as nitroglycerin, used in the treatment of heart disease, can also cause pain.


Claiming that cluster headaches come on suddenly and without warning, without any symptoms, neurologist Exp. Dr. Selda Ozshahin listed the most common symptoms during pain as follows:

“Pain on one side of the head, usually around or inside the eye; Intolerable pain that may spread over time to the head, neck, shoulders or other parts of the face, profuse watering, restlessness, redness of the eye on the side where the pain occurs, congestion or discharge from the nose in the nostril on the side of the face where the pain is felt, constant sweating of the neck and jaundice (pallor), eyes falling on the integuments.

Ozshahin said: “Patients with cluster headache describe the pain as very painful and sharp. When pain occurs, people who are usually restless and try to calm the attacks a little, want to sit, walk, or rock back and forth while holding their heads. Such people avoid lying down, as the pain increases in the supine position. Similar to migraine headaches, some patients with cluster headaches may experience nausea, sensitivity to sounds, light, and smells.

Cluster headache attacks

Ozshahin said: “People who experience much more severe headaches than usual should contact a medical facility as soon as possible.” Headaches, accompanied by difficulty in speech, vomiting, high fever, nausea, numbness of some parts of the body and confusion; This could be a sign of a stroke, meningitis, or a brain tumor. Unlike a normal headache, if a more severe and unbearable headache occurs, you should immediately consult a doctor. Severe headaches in one area, especially after a hard fall, can be a sign of pain due to a head injury. If you observe a change in the periods or severity of cluster headaches and have the following symptoms, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately.


A specialist neurologist who also provides information on treatment methods, USM. Dr. Selda Ozshahin said: “There is no standard treatment for cluster headache. Most modern therapeutic measures are based on reducing the severity of pain, reducing its duration and preventing seizures. Various treatments are used to quickly relieve and prevent pain. One of them is the inhalation of pure oxygen to the patient. The results of this safe and short procedure are already felt in 15-20 minutes. Another method of treatment is local anesthesia. Local anesthetics administered through the nose are effective for cluster headache in some patients. On the other hand, lifestyle changes will be of great benefit in the fight against cluster headaches. For cluster headaches, it is also recommended to make some lifestyle changes to prevent unbearable pain during the attack. One of them is to establish a regular sleep pattern. Attacks of cluster pain can occur when the sleep pattern changes. Even during these periods, it is important to maintain a regular sleep pattern. When cluster periods begin, alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided. The use of alcohol and cigarettes, which cause headaches, also increase the severity and duration of pain experienced.

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