Cluster headaches, also known as suicide headaches, are headaches that can be so agonizing some people consider taking their own lives.
Cluster headaches are so named because the attacks tend to come in clusters. For example, a sufferer might experience symptoms within a certain period, often between one to two months. Afterwards, the sufferer might go into remission for an indefinite time. The attacks tend to come in a cyclical manner, and often there is little warning that an attack is coming.
Causes of Cluster Headaches
No one is sure what exactly causes this condition, but some researchers think the trigeminal nerve, the nerve that controls many of the sensations related to the face, may have something to do with it. Since cluster headaches often involve intense eye pain and pain in the orbital socket of the eye, the trigeminal nerve could play a role. Some of the symptoms people experience also involve the eyes, such as excessive watering and irritation. Sometimes, the sufferer’s eyelid might droop, as well.
Treatment of Cluster Headaches
Because cluster headaches aren’t fully understood, there is no real cure. However, it is possible to reduce the symptoms and frequency of the condition. Since cluster headaches can significantly impact every aspect of a patient’s life, it is important to approach the problem in a multi-pronged way. The treatments might include a combination of, for example, medications, meditation and biofeedback, and herbal supplements. Lifestyle changes may also positively impact the condition.
When seeking out a medical professional that can help with cluster headaches, it is important to assess that professional’s competency with the subject. Headaches of all kinds are often something of a mystery, and medical professionals may not grasp the issue fully if they don’t specialize in migraines and cluster headaches. Specialized clinics are also more likely to have or partner with adjacent professionals who can offer energy work and acupuncture, for example.
Cluster Headaches Home Remedies
At home, the sufferer can take over-the-counter supplements and make diet changes that may help the symptoms of cluster headaches. Also, the sufferer can make changes like establishing a regular bedtime and reducing alcohol consumption. Some of the pain caused by cluster headaches may ease if these changes are made. The frequency of the attacks may be reduced as well. Since there is no cure, choosing an a la carte menu of methods to address the symptoms is generally the most effective.
In the future, there may be a cure for this debilitating illness. Interestingly, research is starting to show that certain controlled substances may be the answer. These include LSD, psychedelic mushrooms (also referred to as psilocybin), and the use of medical marijuana. There are even research studies delving into this possibility, but it is very important that people with cluster headaches access these therapies through medical professionals, whenever possible.
While cluster headaches remain a debilitating condition, new research and treatments are being developed every day. In the future, there may be a cure. In the meantime, different therapies can offer hope as they reduce the frequency of attacks and their severity.