Experienced more frequently by men than women, cluster headaches produce very severe pain on one side of the head or eye. Your eye may become red, swollen and teary. Sometimes, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as sensitivity to sounds, smells or light may occur. These headaches come in cycles that range from one or more every day for several weeks, followed by pain-free days or months.
Cluster headaches are most common between the ages of 20 and 50 and among smokers. They occur more often during the spring or fall, which is why they may be mistaken for allergies. Occasionally, people with this type of headache experience an aura, similar to the visual disturbance felt before the onset of a migraine headache.
Once your doctor has diagnosed that you suffer from cluster headaches, there are pain relieving treatments, as well as things you can to do to help prevent them. In rare cases, surgery may be indicated.
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The Headache Center of Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches caused by neurological and psychiatric illnesses as well as hard-to-treat migraines.