Cluster headaches are a very difficult condition to live with, causing severe, repeated pain usually over several days. Fortunately, they are relatively rare - affecting one or two out of a thousand people. Even though this is the case, it can be highly beneficial to acquaint yourself with some effective treatments for cluster headache relief should you or a loved one ever be affronted with the problem. Some of the most effective cures are:
This is a well-known method of pain relief, often administered to women during child birth. It entails the inhalation of pure oxygen through a face mask at a rate of 12 liters per minute, and pain should be greatly reduced after around 15 minutes. This therapy is considered safe and has no side effects; however, one negative aspect is the necessity of equipment. A canister of oxygen and face mask is required, and this can be inconvenient for those who require the relief while out and about.
Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (TVNS)
This is a relatively new therapy which involves the regulated use of electricity. The user controls the current in a small, portable pack, which should be held against the neck for the purpose of creating small muscle contractions. The strength of electricity should be slowly increased until pulsation begins, and then it should be held in place for around 90 seconds. The treatment can be used to relieve pain as it occurs; it is also thought that regular use can stop further attacks.
Designed for treating migraines and cluster headaches, sumatriptan can be administered in the form of an injection or a nasal spray although it is thought that the latter takes longer to come into effect. Scientists believe that this drug is a successful cluster headache cure because of its action in the head; it is able to reduce the diameter of blood vessels, which are known to widen during severe headaches. Sumatriptan should not be taken when other conditions are present, such as:
- Problems with circulation
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Liver disease
In some cases, a local anesthetic such as lidocaine might be administered. This is most often taken nasally in the form of a spray or drops and needs to be prescribed by a doctor. It is thought to work by numbing the relevant nerve, which influences pain in the head, but unfortunately the pain relief is usually short. This might be okay for those whose cluster headaches are brief, but for others, it may not be sufficient. Excessive use of lidocaine can have toxic effects and cause problems with regular heart beat rhythm.
These treatments for cluster headaches will need to be administered or prescribed by a doctor. So, if you think you are experiencing this condition it is important to visit your physician as soon as possible in order to receive sufficient advice and treatment.