What Is Cluster Headache?

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headache is an intensely painful type of headache that is often very rare. It usually occurs in clusters ( happen repeatedly over a period of days, weeks, or months), with one attack followed by a period of remission. Some people may experience several attacks per day, while others may have only 1-2 attacks per week or month. During an attack, the pain is very severe and focused around one eye. The pain may also spread to the temples or forehead. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating. (1)

Cluster headaches are more common in men than women. They usually start between the ages of 20 and 40. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels in the head. Treatment includes medications such as triptans, as well as lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and cigarettes. There is no known cause for cluster headaches, but they may be related to changes in the levels of certain brain chemicals.

Cluster Headaches


Cluster headaches are a rare and unique type of headache. They are characterized by severe, stabbing pain on one side of the head that is typically accompanied by red eyes, a runny nose, and excessive sweating. The cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but current research suggests that they may be caused by changes in the brain’s blood vessels. These changes may lead to a sudden release of chemicals that cause the pain and other symptoms of cluster headaches. (2)

The pathophysiology of cluster headache is not fully understood. Current theories implicate mechanisms such as vascular dilation, trigeminal nerve stimulation, and circadian effects. Histamine release, an increase in mast cells, genetic factors, and autonomic nervous system activation may also contribute.