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How Cluster Headaches are Formed

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How Cluster Headaches are Formed

Cluster headaches get their name, as you might imagine, from the fact that the instances of headache are clustered together in a relatively short period of time. Frequently headaches are experienced multiple times in a single day. They are also usually excruciating and are often unilateral (occurring only on the left or right side); they share the latter characteristic with migraine attacks (1).

Overall, migraines are more common than cluster headaches. However, migraines are more prevalent among women. Cluster headaches, on the other hand, tend to strike men more often. These two neurological disorders are quite similar, and the headache treatment that works to resolve them is essentially the same. However, cluster headaches are different in two primary ways: symptoms and vascular activity.

Cluster headaches: symptoms, vascular activity & lying down

Migraine symptoms typically include head pain combined with nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, or sound sensitivity. Cluster headaches' symptoms include the following:

  • a steady stream of pain (as opposed to the rhythmic, "pulsating" pain often associated with migraines)
  • unilateral pain (similar to migraines)
  • difficulty sitting still
  • eye on the side of the head affected by the headache becomes red or filled with tears
  • nostril on the headache side of the head becomes runny
  • facial swelling near the site of the pain
  • irregular perspiration.

Regarding vascular activity, migraines involve vascular constriction (narrowing of the blood vessels), followed by vascular dilation (widening of the blood vessels). Cluster headaches, as with all headaches, involve only vascular constriction.

Another basic difference between migraines and cluster headaches is the effect of lying down. While those suffering from migraine may experience some alleviation of the pain by lying down, typically the pain of cluster headaches worsens in that position.

Cluster headache causes

Now let's get to the gist of this piece: the causes of cluster headache formation. Though it's not yet understood scientifically what causes cluster headaches, chances are it has to do with imbalances of the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus, a part of the brain, serves as our biological clock. Cluster headaches occur during specific intervals throughout a given day of attacks. Also, in many cases, the clusters are spread across the calendar year in sync with the four seasons (2).

Cluster headache treatment

As stated in the introduction, migraines and cluster headaches have various dissimilarities, but their treatments are virtually identical. A growing number of Americans are turning to MiRx Protocol™ to ease both types of head pain. MiRx is highly respected by physicians nationwide because it targets pain without pills; plus, it incorporates biomechanical therapies for long-term improvement.

Ask your doctor about MiRx today or try our Provider Locator to find a physician in your area.


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Living with Headaches:
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The MiRx™ Protocol is made up of two parts that first stops the reaction of the nervous system, the medical component; then treats and rehabilitates.

The MiRx™ Protocol is made up of two parts that first stops the reaction of the nervous system, the medical component; then treats and rehabilitates.