', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview'); ga('create', 'UA-42651322-3', 'auto', 'brandTracker'); ga('brandTracker.send', 'pageview');
Accessibility View Close toolbar

Cluster Headaches

image of woman massaging her temples

While no headache is pleasant, cluster headaches can be particularly uncomfortable. Sufferers liken the sensation to a hot poker being stuck in their eyes, and may even feel like their eyes are being shoved out of their sockets.

Cluster headaches get their name because they occur in a cyclical pattern. The cluster of headaches may last for weeks or months, with remission periods in between. They are also called “suicide headaches,” because they can drive sufferers to despair.

Symptoms

Cluster headaches attack quickly, often painfully awakening people in the middle of the night. Usually the pain focuses around one eye, but can radiate to the face, neck, head or shoulders. Symptoms include drooping eyelids, facial swelling, excessive tearing and a runny nose, usually on one side of the face. The pain and discomfort makes sufferers irritable. Often they pace back and forth. Lying down tends to increase the pain.

The duration of a cluster period varies. During a period of cluster headaches, the sufferer usually gets at least one headache per day, lasting between 15 minutes and three hours. Some sufferers have predictable cluster headaches, which present at the same time every day, or even during a certain season. Often they strike an hour or two after going to bed.

Risk Factors

Men are likelier victims than women, and usually develop this headache disorder between the age of 20 and 50. Smoking and drinking seem to exacerbate the problem. Genetics may also play a role. Researchers do not know the cause of cluster headaches, but suspect it could be linked to an abnormality in the hypothalamus. This part of the brain controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue and many other bodily functions.

Treatment

Several medications help people with cluster headaches. A doctor can inject the sufferer with drugs called triptans, which ease both cluster headaches and migraines, or with a synthetic hormone called octreotide. Local anesthetics can numb parts of the face. Inhaling pure oxygen often dramatically decreases the grip of cluster headaches within 15 minutes.

The doctor may prescribe a preventive treatment, such as regularly taking calcium channel blockers, lithium carbonate or corticosteroids, which suppress inflammation. However, these medications all have side effects. Taking 10 milligrams of melatonin nightly is a relatively safe intervention that helps some sufferers.

In rare cases, surgeons try to damage nerve pathways around the eyes. Newer treatments involve implanting electrodes in sufferers’ heads to block pain signals.

Because cluster headaches are so intense, the afflicted may feel desperate. Talking to a therapist or joining a support group may provide coping mechanisms.

Chiropractic Treatment for Cluster Headaches

Chiropractors restore necks to their proper alignment. A misaligned cervical vertebra can put pressure on the trigeminal nerve, which carries pain signals during a cluster headache. Sufferers might find help from an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment.

You chiropractor might prescribe exercises or make suggestions to improve your work station’s ergonomics. This assistance might also cut down on misalignments that could aggravate your cluster headaches.

If you suffer from cluster headaches, call our office today. We may be able to help you without the side effects of medications.

New patients receive a free consultation!

One of our primary goals is to educate our community about the benefits of chiropractic.

Office Hours

Monday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

12:00 pm-3:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-6:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-10:00 am

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "We saw Dr Tim and I highly recommend him to any family!! He's awesome with kiddos!! He treated our 3 month old son. The entire staff is above and beyond!!!"
    Lindsay Tebout
  • "I've been going now since 2014 staff is great both doctors are great and my overall health is so much better not living in pain anymore I would highly recommend."
    Laurie PoelstraVoogd
  • "They were able to help after a car accident when medical doctors could do nothing. So happy that I came here!! Office staff is the best. Always smiling and friendly and the doctors are amazing! Great folks to work with"
    Robyn Nesbitt Franz
  • "The best chiropractor! Well worth the hour drive!"
    Mary Whitelock
  • "I have been a patient for almost 2 years now and feel amazing. I originally went in for pain relief like most patients, and got exactly what I needed. Great environment, friendly staff and good prices with flexible hours. It was an easy decision after I was relieved of my back pain to keep going to Dr. Gillis to maintain my health and to live a healthier lifestyle with chiropractic care."
    Sara Harder

Featured Articles

Read about helpful topics

  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More
  • An Apple a Day . . .

    What is so good about an apple? Is it the color, ranging from ruby red to pale pink? Is it the crunch? The sweetness? Or is it, instead, a combination of all of these qualities, plus the natural goodness derived from the apple's secret ingredients — phytonutrients? If this were a multiple choice quiz, the answer would be "all of the above". Importantly, in addition to possessing numerous appealing physical qualities, apples contain an abundance of health-promoting biochemicals known as phytonutrients.1,2 These specific organic molecules are derived not only from apples but many other fresh fruits and vegetables, and help power the immune system, protect against cancer, maintain healthy eyes, and assist cells in clearing out metabolic waste products such as free radicals. ...

    Read More
  • Standing Tall

    Young peoples' bones stop growing by approximately age 20, somewhat earlier in women and somewhat later in men. Long bone growth, that is, in the arm, forearm, thigh, and leg, ceases later and smaller bone growth, that is, in the hands, feet, and spine, ceases earlier. In essence, you're as tall as you're ...

    Read More
  • Spring Forth!

    Spring is arriving. The days are getting longer, the air is fresher, and the sunlight is brighter. Flowers and bushes are beginning to bloom. Tree sap is running and there are new baby animals in the world. In short, the world is being renewed and, if we choose to, we too can actively participate in ...

    Read More
  • Chiropractic Care for the Young and the Young at Heart

    Children and adults are the same but different. Most kids want to play all the time, but they also are required to go to school. Most adults would prefer to play all the time – relax, go to the gym, read a book, watch TV, or get together with friends – but most adults need to go to work at least ...

    Read More
  • Care of Concussions

    Concussions are becoming increasingly common, especially among school-age athletes. It has been estimated that there are up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. Concussions are problematic as, by definition, a concussive injury involves some degree of trauma to the ...

    Read More
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign Up to Receive More Articles