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Complementary Medicine

Cluster Headaches

12/15/2006

Question:

My father was diagnosed with cluster headache a few months back. The pain usually comes in the night and he has trouble once the pain starts. Is there something that can be done to prevent or reduce these headaches? Is it dangerous to my fathers health? Please advise.

Answer:

Cluster headache is one of the most painful headaches and has been nicknamed “suicide headache” because some sufferers have contemplated or committed suicide due to the severity of pain. There have been many medications used in the prevention of cluster headache. Medical therapy is successful at controlling cluster headache in 90% of the patients. In the remaining patients, invasive interventions have been successful. The danger from uncontrolled pain includes risk of suicide and the deleterious effects of chronic pain on the various organ systems in the body. It is imperative that your father follows up regularly with a neurologist that specializes in the management of headache.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University