Munson Health
 
Related Information
Cluster Headache

Back to Document

by Wood D
 

Treatment

Treatment aims to reduce the frequency of headaches and help relieve pain.

Medication

Medications used to treat migraines often relieve sudden attacks of cluster headaches. These drugs must be taken at the first sign of a headache. Other medications may also be prescribed.
In some cases, the headache does not last long enough for medications to be helpful. Sometimes, the medications just delay an attack, rather than stop an attack.
Painkillers, especially narcotic drugs, may not be effective during an acute attack.
Other medications may be given to prevent or reduce the frequency of headaches.

Oxygen Therapy

Breathing 100% oxygen for 10-15 minutes often relieves cluster headache pain. This is often viewed as the front-line therapy for cluster headache. The oxygen appears to decrease blood flow to the affected area of the brain. People under age 50 who have episodic cluster headaches seem to benefit most from oxygen therapy.
Oxygen therapy can be expensive. There are also risks with this therapy.

Surgery

As a last resort, some doctors may recommend cutting or destroying a facial nerve to eliminate pain.
 

Prevention

Sometimes, cluster headaches can be prevented by doing the following:
 

RESOURCES

American Headache Society
http://www.achenet.org

National Headache Foundation
http://www.headaches.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Headache Network Canada
http://www.headachenetwork.ca

Help for Headaches
http://www.headache-help.org

 

References


Beck E, Sieber WJ, et al. Management of cluster headache. Am Fam Physician. 2005; 71:717-724.


Cittadini E, May A, et al. Effectiveness of intranasal zolmitriptan in acute cluster headache. Arch Neurol. 2006;63:1537-1542.


Cluster headache. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 17, 2013. Accessed November 16, 2013.


Finocchi C, Del Sette M, et al. Cluster headache and right-to-left shunt on contrast transcranial Doppler: a case-control study. Neurology. 2004;63:1309.


Francis GJ, Becker WJ, et al. Acute and preventive pharmacologic treatment of cluster headache. Neurology. 2010;75(5):463-473.


Headache: hope through research. National Institute Of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail%5Fheadache.htm#193263138. Updated November 8, 2013. Accessed November 16, 2013.


Leone M, Bussone G. Pathophysiology of autonomic trigeminal neuralgias. Lancet Neurol. 2009;8(8):755-764.


Leroux E, Valade D, et al. Suboccipital steroid injections for transitional treatment of patients with more than two cluster headache attacks per day: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2011;10(10):891-897.


May A, Leone M, et al. EFNS guidelines on the treatment of cluster headache and other trigeminal-autonomic cephalgias. Eur J Neurol. 2006;13(10):1066-1077.


Russell MB, Anderson PG, et al. Familial occurrence of cluster headache. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1995;58:341-343.


Van Vliet JA, Bahra A, et al. Intranasal sumatriptan in cluster headache: randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Neurology. 2003;60:630-633.


10/25/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Francis GJ, Becker WJ, et al. Acute and preventive pharmacologic treatment of cluster headache. Neurology. 2010;75(5):463-473.

 

Revision Information