It is not “just a headache”

Understanding Migraine and Cluster Headache


Migraine affects more than one billion people worldwide each year and is the leading cause of disability in people under 50. Although migraine feels different for each person, episodes typically last 4 to 72 hours and are characterized by a severe throbbing headache on one side of the head that worsens with physical activity. Accompanying symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, sound or odors and cognitive and emotional disturbances, often requiring bed rest. Migraine mainly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50.

Chronic migraine is defined as having headaches at least 15 days a month, with a minimum of eight days meeting migraine criteria. It is important to note that not all people with chronic migraine have headache-free periods, also known as "crystal clear days". Some people endure unrelenting migraine symptoms without finding relief. It is important to understand that having migraine is not your fault; it is a genetic influence on a neurological disease.

Cluster headache

Cluster headache is a severe one-sided headache that causes excruciating pain behind the eye, often accompanied by tearing, sweating, drooping eyelids and nasal congestion. It is a severe neurological disorder that affects 1 in 1000 people. Attacks last 15 to 180 minutes and may occur one to eight times per day. Cluster headache is predominantly a male disorder, although the ratio of men to women has been decreasing and is now about 2:1. Cluster attacks are extremely disruptive to daily life, sometimes causing persistent headaches between attacks. Genetics play a role in their development and severity. Cluster headache is associated with a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts, earning it the nickname "suicide headache". These attacks occur in clusters of one to two months, with remission periods varying from months to years. In chronic cases of cluster headache, there are no remissions or they last less than three months.

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