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Cluster Headache: Symptoms & Therapy

Cluster headache rarely lasts longer than 90 minutes and can occur up to eight times a day.
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a headache

Experts give cluster headaches nine out of ten possible points on the pain scale. Thus, this form of headache is one of the worst known complaints - against migraines and dental problems.

Sudden seizures

Cluster headache or migraine ? Because the symptoms are similar to those of a migraine, cluster headaches are often confused with them. But they occur suddenly, usually at night, and often last only 15 minutes or an hour. Lying down during a seizure further aggravates the discomfort. Even home remedies for headaches have little chance in cluster pain . : "In contrast to migraine, patients do not retreat to darkened rooms, but they have an increased urge to move during the pain attack, " says dr. Andreas Böger, Chief Physician of the Department of Pain Medicine and Head of the "Cluster Headache Competence Center" at the Red Cross Hospital Kassel.

Inflamed blood vessels

The causes are so far unclear. You only know that the nerve behind one eye is irritated and the blood vessels in the brain are inflamed . The inflammation in turn causes stinging pain. Acute seizures are treated either with oxygen inhalations or with so-called "triptans", migraine remedies. The drugs should not be taken too often because of their side effects. Other medicines can prevent the attacks - but they do not work for everyone.

Calm the nerve

If medication does not provide sufficient relief, a small procedure can help: a surgeon implants a tiny probe into the antrum under general anesthesia. It ends exactly at the nerve bundle that causes the discomfort. With a remote control the size of a cellphone , an electrical stimulus can be triggered there later during an attack. "The signal causes the neurotransmitters that play a role in the transmission of the pain impulses to be reduced, " explains Dr. med. Boeger. With great success: "About 85 percent of the attacks can be suppressed by the probe and many patients have become completely pain free."

Important: With chronic cluster headache the health insurance companies take over all costs for the operation and the device.

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