Acupuncture Cluster Headache Pain Relief Migraine

In acupuncture pain relief, cluster headache is a migraine-like condition that occurs repeatedly for a number of weeks followed by a respite for a number of months before another cluster occurs. It is said to be 10 to 50 times less common than migraine headache.

It can also occur many times throughout the day, again from weeks to months at a time. It can then subside for a period of time ranging from  weeks to even months without recurrence.

It is characterised by attacks of intense pain on one side of the head  (unilateral). Patients have reported the pain to be unbearable. The pain occurs most often over the eye and forehead, which makes it appear to be a migraine-like headache. It is accompanied by nasal congestion or watering, reddening and tearing of the eye.

Acupuncture Cluster Headache Pain Relief Migraine

The pain of cluster headache is severe but brief, lasts between 30 to 90 minutes in duration. But some patients suffer attacks in groups with a duration of several hours.

Typically you can develop this headache at a particular time of the day, usually early in the morning; but the onset can also be abrupt, often 2-3 hours after falling asleep.

Males are predominantly more prone to cluster headache than females (women tends to migraine attacks) with onset usually in the third decade of life.

There is little genetic predisposition and no provoking dietary factors to cluster headache. But risk increases if you are a heavy smoker and consume higher than average amount of alcohol.

Some patients have resorted to drinking alcohol in order to help them cope with the pain. Don’t do that. Alcohol will worsen a cluster headache. Correspondingly, potent blood vessel dilators (alcohol is one of them), nitroglycerin and histamines (see histamine headache below) can trigger an attack.

Acupuncture Key Characteristics of Cluster Headache

In summary, the key characteristics of a cluster headache are:

  • Can be similar to a migraine headache
  • Attacks can begin at any age but begin between ages 20 and 40, typically around 30 years old
  • Extremely painful headaches last from 30 to 90 minutes, can occur 5 to 6 times a day during the "active" phase of the cluster headache
  • Frequently occur at night or early in the morning, and often at the same time each day
  • Unilateral pain - localised to one side of the head, affecting the eye, forehead, cheek, or temple
  • Associated with nasal congestion or watering, eye drooping, reddening and tearing of the eye
  • Can be accompanied by upper back ache or neck pain
  • Can be associated with panic or fear

Histamine headache

Histamine headache is also called cluster headache. It is associated with the release of histamine from the body tissues and marked by symptoms of dilated carotid arteries, fluid accumulation under the eyes, tearing or lacrimation, and runny nose (rhinorrhoea).

Symptoms include sudden sharp pain on one side of the head, involving the facial area from the neck to the temple. Treatment includes the use of preparations of anti-histamines and ergot that help constrict the arteries.

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Dr Pier Tsui-Po Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic
Berwick Specialist Suites,
Suite 8 - Level 1, 50 Kangan Drive, Berwick 3806,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Telephone: 9796 2388


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