Migraines or cluster headaches? Where to get help?

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    My wife and I have a puzzling situation on our hands here and we really do not know where to turn.  My wife has headaches daily.  For some time they were called migraine headaches.  Then her diagnosis was changed to cluster headaches, overnight!!!  Now, she has headaches that are so severe that we are taking at least twice monthly trips to ER's in the local area.  We have visited the same several so many times for severe headaches that some will not see her any more, as they feel that she is just "drug seeking,"  when I know she is not.


    I am looking for a recommendation on where to go and who to see for some help for my dear wife.  She tells me that her headaches are progressively more and more severe; she has taken to calling them the "headaches from hell!"  I am concerned in that she has other health issues (top three discs in her spine have no "spacers or squishy stuff" between them, thus they are bone on bone, she also has issues at several locations on her spine leading to mylograms however without finding anything serious enough for surgery, plus she has fibromyalgia and is a severe pain patient).

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    I need to find some help for her, as I can see her getting lower and lower.  Several years ago she was a residential mortgage person, balancing those $250,000 loans several at a time to help people to get into homes; now a good day is a day at knitting with a minimum of pain.


    I'd really appreciate your help on where to go to get some help for my dear wife.


    Thanks; Rick.




    Dear Rick;


    Migraines and cluster headaches are two different disorders and are quite different. One Migraine usually lasts four to 72 hours; one cluster headache usually lasts 15 to 180 minutes. Migraines are usually made worse by movement, but people with cluster headaches often have trouble sitting still. They're usually very restless.


    Reading these two articles will give you an overview of a Migraine and a cluster headache:

    It seems to be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It’s important to note that neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



    To review other questions from our Ask the Clinician Column,
     browse the Ask the Clinician archives.


    If you need help finding a Migraine and headache specialist,
     visit our listing of Patient Recommended Specialists.



    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Last updated March 7, 2010.

Published On: March 07, 2010