Cluster Headaches - Topic Overview
If your treatment doesn't work, ask your doctor if you can
try something else. It may take time to find what works best for you.
Over-the-counter pain medicines, such
as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, usually don't work for cluster
Dealing with repeated cluster
headaches can lead to
depression, which in turn can continue the headache
cycle. Finding ways to
cope with stress (such as with regular exercise) and
improve depression may reduce the severity or frequency of your cluster
How are cluster headaches prevented?
There is no cure for cluster headaches. You can't do anything to prevent
a cycle of cluster headaches from starting. But as soon as a cycle
starts, you can take medicine that may help prevent more headaches or reduce
how many you have during a cycle. You take this medicine every day during the
Certain things may be more likely to cause a headache
during a cycle. These are called triggers. Avoiding them may help prevent
headaches. Triggers include:
- Drinking alcohol.
- Sleep problems. It’s best if you go to bed and wake up at the same
time every day. Don't take naps.
- Increases in body temperature. This can happen when you exercise, take a hot bath, or get angry.
- Nitrates. These are found in wine, cured meats, aged cheeses, and some medicines.
- Histamine. Seasonal allergies could trigger a headache.
A headache diary(What is a PDF document?) can give you and your doctor clues to help you manage
your headaches. Write down when and how often the headaches happen, how severe
they are, and what you think may be causing them. Share this with your doctor.