A cluster headache is one-sided head pain that may involve tearing of the eyes and a stuffy nose. The headaches occur repeatedly every day at the same time for several weeks and then go away.
Cluster headaches are much rarer and are the most severe form of primary headache. They are usually accompanied by a runny nose, tearing of the eyes and sweating on the same side of the head as the headache. Cluster headaches last from 15 minutes to three hours and occur in a pattern or "cluster" for up to several weeks.
OXYGEN TREATMENT FOR CLUSTER HEADACHES You breathe a high flow of pure oxygen through a mask for about 15 minutes, up to five times a day. A large new study offers the best evidence to date backing the use of high-flow oxygen treatment for cluster headaches. Researchers found 78% of people who received oxygen treatment reported being pain-free or having adequate pain relief within 15 minutes of treatment. Oxygen treatment for cluster headaches is already a part of accepted treatment guidelines, but its use has been limited by a lack of high-quality studies supporting its effectiveness.
OCCIPITAL NERVE STIMULATION FOR CLUSTER HEADACHES is a new treatment for cluster headaches. It is used to treat headaches that are difficult to manage with medication. ONS involves implanting electrodes, an impulse generator and connecting wires under the skin. The electrodes are implanted near the occipital nerve at the base of the head and the impulse generator is implanted somewhere else in the body. The implanted electrodes are the size of a grain of rice at the base of the head to stimulate the occipital nerve, which runs from the skull base to the spine and is part of the nerve circuit which conducts the pain. When the patient presses a remote control, the electrodes transmit electrical impulses to the parts of the brain that produce headaches. This re-programmes these areas not to cause pain.
Similar research is under way using an implanted stimulator in the hypothalamus, the area of the brain associated with the timing of cluster periods. Deep brain stimulation of the hypothalamus may provide relief for people with severe, chronic cluster headaches.