What Are Cluster Headaches?

Businessman under stress

Cluster headaches are most common in young males. Statistics show that those under thirty years of age are most affected. This is a rare type of headache that affects only one in a thousand people. Although cluster headaches have been more common in women, there has been an increase in the number of females affected by them. However, men are still affected about twice as often than women.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are a series of recurring head aches that can be intense and last for days or even weeks. The sufferer generally feels no discomfort during these episodes. Sometimes, the attacks can occur while a person sleeps. These attacks are often more severe than those that occur during the day. These headaches can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours in most cases.

Season changes are the most common trigger. This could be because the nerves that are activated during an attack are those of the internal clock. Cluster headaches can be exacerbated by alcohol and nicotine. Even small amounts of alcohol can trigger an attack. When they are not experiencing cluster events, most sufferers don’t experience any adverse reactions to moderate alcohol consumption or smoking.

The Actual Cause

Scientists and doctors are still trying to understand the actual cause of most headaches. However, common areas of headaches have been identified. These extremely painful episodes are thought to be caused by a cluster of nerves in the face. The first sensations a patient will feel, besides tearing and redness, are usually in the eye. These attacks can be more severe at night because the nerve is connected with each person’s internal clock.

These headaches can be similar to other severe headaches. For example, they can cause one-sided discomfort that stays on the same side. It has been reported that the pain can be so severe that affected people may feel nauseous and need to move around to manage. Cluster head aches aren’t just confined to the head as other head aches. Sometimes, the pain can affect all parts of the face, including teeth and gums. The top of a person’s head might feel tender to the touch. People who are influenced by others can feel their pulse during an attack and that could cause them more discomfort.


Cluster headache sufferers will experience some relief throughout the year. They will only be affected by their pains for one week during major seasonal changes. Some people are more affected than others. Cluster headache sufferers typically have episodes lasting from a week to a whole year, with at least two weeks between episodes. Others are less fortunate. They have to suffer from a chronic condition that prevents them from having headaches for more than 14 days each year.