Neurology: Cluster Headache

Cluster headache is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, severe headaches on one side of the head often behind eye with watering eye, stuffy nose, swelling of and around the eye. Sufferers often call them 'suicidal headaches' because they are so severe.. Attacks occur regularly for 1 week to 1 year, separated by long pain-free periods that last at least 1 month, possibly longer. They are four times more common in men than women. The headaches can occur at any age but are most common in adolescence and middle age. They tend to run in families, passed down through genes. Quickly get worse, peaking within 5 to 10 minutes. The strongest pain may last 30 minutes to 2 hours.


There are two types of cluster headache, episodic or chronic (long-term).

  • Episodic - Headache clusters are separated by headache-free periods of one month or more
  • Chronic - Headache Clusters are separated by headache-free periods of less than one month, or are not separated at all

Causes: Exact causes not known. The following factors may trigger:

  • Alcohol and cigarette smoking
  • High altitudes (trekking, air travel)
  • Bright light (including sunlight)
  • Exertion
  • Heat (hot weather, hot baths)
  • Foods high in nitrites (such as bacon and preserved meats)
  • Certain medications
  • Cocaine

Note: We are giving only a brief description of each disease for your quick reference with some best related photographs where needed.