Histamine headache; Headache - histamine; Migrainous neuralgia; Headache - cluster
A cluster headache begins as a severe, sudden headache. The headache most commonly strikes 2 to 3 hours after falling asleep, usually during the dreaming (rapid eye movement, or REM) phase. However, the headache may occur while you are awake. The headache tends to occur at the same time of day.
The pain occurs on one side of the head. It may be described as:
The pain may occur in, behind, and around one eye. It may:
- Involve one side of the face from neck to temples
- Quickly gets worse, peaking within 5 to 10 minutes
The strongest pain may last 30 minutes to 2 hours.
The eye and nose on the same side of the head pain may also be affected. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling under or around the eye (may affect both eyes)
- Excessive tearing
- Red eye
- Rhinorrhea (runny nose) or one-sided stuffy nose (same side as the head pain)
- Red, flushed face
Cluster headaches may occur daily for months, alternating with periods without headaches (episodic), or they can recur for a year or more without stopping (chronic).
Signs and tests
Your health care provider can diagnosis this type of headache by performing a physical exam and asking questions about your symptoms and medical history.
If a physical exam is done during an attack, the exam will usually reveal
Tests, such as an MRI of the head, may be needed to rule out other causes for the headaches.
Review Date: 11/22/2010
Reviewed By: Kevin Sheth, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.