People often don't understand the difference between cluster headaches and migraines. Let's briefly explore these health disorders so you can better understand what you specifically have and what treatment approaches might work best for you.
Here are several similarities and differences between cluster headaches and migraines:
Physiologically, migraines involve vascular dilation rather than vascular constriction (1); to be completely clear, the blood vessels first narrow (constrict) prior to onset of the migraine, then expand (dilate) as the migraine begins. Typical headaches involve constriction only; that's the primary distinction in terms of circulation.
The trait of cluster headaches that makes it different from migraines and other types of head pain is in its name – the cluster. Cluster headaches are prevalent throughout "cluster periods." These time-frames can last as long as months or years (2). Then a period of headache-free time occurs, lasting for a similarly long stretch. Because cluster headaches have such a roller-coaster quality, they do allow occasions of relief but can be particularly frustrating when they keep coming back.
Migraines, you could say, cluster in a different way – symptomatically. Rather than involving extreme head pain clustered during certain windows of time, migraines usually involve head pain accompanied with additional symptoms: digestive issues (nausea or vomiting) and sensory issues (light or sound sensitivity).
There is a strong dividing line between these two types of head pain regarding sex. Migraines are almost 3 times as common in women as they are in men: 17% of women experience migraines, while only 6% of men do (3). On the other hand, cluster headaches occur more frequently in men than they do in women. Again, the sex difference is extreme: men are 3 to 6 times more likely to experience cluster headaches (4).
As the above details suggest, not all head pain is the same. Even once you are diagnosed with one type of disorder or another, your experience may be different from that of another patient. Especially the migraine is notorious for its diversity. Manifold migraine triggers can set off attacks, and each patient has a different set of triggers (5).
Because migraines and cluster headaches are so individualized, they are notoriously difficult to understand and treat. A comprehensive solution is needed. Rather than testing different pills and therapies, thousands of Americans are turning to a groundbreaking treatment that's as easy as a nasal spray: MiRx Protocol™. To relieve your pain and regain your quality of life, contact a certified provider in our nationwide network today.