Hope for "Suicide Headache"

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Hope for "Suicide Headache"

Cluster headaches or suicide headaches are excruciating attacks of pain in one side of the head, often felt around the eye. Anyone of any age can be affected, but such headache is more common in men and tend to develop in people over the age of 20.

Juline Bryson, M.D, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a board-certified headache specialist, "Patients tell me it feels like they're being mutilated with an ice pick and is worse than anything they've ever felt." "Because they are so rare, they are often misdiagnosed as migraines or allergies and aren't treated appropriately."

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, cluster headaches are a series of relatively short but extremely painful headaches that occur in clusters, usually at the same time of the day and night for several weeks. Such headaches strike one side of the head, generally behind or around one eye. This may also be preceded by a migraine-like aura and nausea. This worst pain can continue for up to 3 hours and wake up the people in the middle of the night or sleep.

Bryson said, symptoms of cluster headache include tears, runny nose or congestion, sweating and redness on one side of the face only. These headaches takes place daily for a few weeks in a row and then disappear. Every year, such headaches occur at the same period of time, usually spring or fall.

As per Bryson, "In most cases, this kind of headache cab be easily treated once it is accurtely diagnosed. During an episode, we can inject a drug used to treat migraines, which can provide relief within minutes,  and there are several drugs available that are quite effective in preventing these headaches." Although there are good treatments available, responses vary from person to person and some people do have intractable headaches that can be very difficult to treat.


Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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Original title of article:

Cluster headaches: Painful but treatable, preventable


Juline Bryson

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Exploratory, Cluster Headache, Head, Eyes, Nose, Preventive
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