Patient Comments: Cluster Headaches - Treatment


What treatment did you have for cluster headaches? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Pin-in-the-eye, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 19

I have had cluster headaches for 20 years, for six weeks per year. Used to just be one per night; now more often 3/night. All the standard symptoms, and 3/night definitely impacts standard of living and job performance. What has helped are cafergot/ergotamine which is awesome, unfortunately hard to get, because it damages your heart, sumatriptan which is really good, except expensive, even with insurance. You get rebound headaches. Ice too can help. Hardcore cardio is my now my go-to. Counter-intuitive, but try it.

Comment from: Dan, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 14

The cause for my cluster headaches is fully known; nasal cartilage driven into sphenopalatine ganglia and Vidian nerve as a preteen. Pain onset was at age 20. I have had 7 neurosurgeries. Pain management is the only possible treatment now.

Comment from: Coop, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 26

I had chronic cluster headaches for about 5 years. I tried a whole laundry list of drugs, all the ones mentioned in the article and more, nothing worked to break the cycle. Finally, I was in the hospital during a 5 day headache and they tried a 24 hour drip of Solu-Medrol and another drug (can’t recall the name) and it broke my cycle! Now I still have clusters January to March. I use lidocaine nasal spray and Imitrex injections with good results.

Comment from: Kate, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 17

Oxygen is effective for cluster headaches but inconvenient, though I do qualify for an oxygen machine for home. Since taking a daily low dose amitriptyline, cluster headaches are gone! Plus this medicine really helps me sleep better. I take a 5 to 10 mg OD. PRN medicines never really helped me much.

Comment from: Renata, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 24

Solpadeine dissolving tablets in small amount of water helps me for my cluster headaches. Sure, I don’t have redness or water in the eyes, but it hurts badly when it hits.

Comment from: Robin, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 04

I have suffered from cluster headaches on and off for 40 years and have tried many things - oxygen, nasal lidocaine, and Imitrex to name a few. I find that ice to the effected temple will make it go away in about 15 minutes which is better than an hour of agony.

Comment from: Bev, Female (Caregiver) Published: June 16

My son has suffered with cluster headaches for about four years, for about six weeks of every year. He has recently started taking spirulina tablets and we have had excellent results. Within 2 days the intensity of the headaches decreased and one week later the headaches have stopped. I was told it has something to do with the chlorophyll in the blue green algae which carries oxygen to the brain. I can't claim to have any medical knowledge; all I can say is that it has helped.

Comment from: m. wallace, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I have had constant, daily pain in the top right quarter of my head for over a year. The cluster headache has progressively gotten worse to the point I can barely see out of my right eye and even when pain goes my eye does not return to normal. I have had 2 MRIs done with the last showing a cyst in one of the ventricles. Doctor does not feel this has anything to do with my symptoms. I went for a third MRI this week so will see how that goes. Working is horrible and daily pain is taking a toll on me. I'm depressed and frustrated. I am taking verapamil and Zomig however they don't work very well. Close to my time of the month the pain gets lighter. I feel popping, stabbing, a washing type feeling over that part of my head. My ears hurt, my teeth bug me and it occasionally feels like the rush you hear when you yawn, pulling everything to the corner of eye. The few people I have encountered that have had clusters say they lasted up to 6 months and then go away. I am just past a year with no relief in sight.

Comment from: Connie, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 11

I suffered with cluster headaches throughout most of my military career. Doctors tried quite the array of different types of medication, of which none of them worked. When I was subscribed injectable Imitrex, I was amazed at how fast it worked. I could feel the headache start diminishing in about 5 to 15 seconds. The problem is that the pharmacy did not want to give me more than three vials per prescription. Not much help when you are having 3 or 4 episodes a day for a month and a half to two months. Shortly after I retired, I went in for a prescription of Lexapro for depression. I have not had a cluster attack since 2002. That makes it 13 years since I have had a cluster headache attack. Although I wouldn't mind getting off of Lexapro because I no longer feel depressed, I will probably always be on it to keep cluster headaches away.


Migraine or Tension Headache? Symptoms, Triggers, Treatments See Slideshow
Comment from: abufahad, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 31

I started having cluster headaches when I was 17 years old, three or four times with an average gap of 1 to 1.5 years between them. That’s when I started taking black seed oil, when I was about 26. I started black seed for my stomach issues, which in turn stopped clusters. Pretty effective medication. Couple of times in recent years the cycle starts and the moment I start taking black seed, it stops abruptly.

Comment from: Smartz, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

After suffering from migraines for a few months, I had a cluster headache in the lower right rear section of my head. The pain was excruciating. I went to my doctor and she said it might be cluster headache. She put me on oxygen for 30 minutes and it went away. And I never had migraines again, either. I had an MRI and a small stroke was found.

Comment from: Dawn, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

After 17 days of waking up feeling like someone was stabbing me in the eye I asked my general physician (GP) for help. She prescribed sumatriptan, an injection you give yourself in the leg. Within 7 minutes it started to work. After 20 minutes I was pain free. The rest of the day I felt like I was me again. I awoke the next day feeling like myself again. This drug is amazing. So fellow cluster headache sufferers, suffer no longer, ask your GP for this miracle jab!

Comment from: greg, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I have had cluster headaches roughly 1 or 2 months at a time spaced about 4 to 5 years apart over 30 years. When getting an onset of these I lift weights and 90 percent of the time I get relief in 5 to 10 minutes but other days there is not much relief; today is one. I lifted to near muscle fatigue for hours but no relief. I have been in agony from 1:00 to 10:00. Darkness, rest and a cold rag on temple has given some relief but not much.

Comment from: MrClusters, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 07

For cluster headaches, 4 treatments help me. Imitrex injections, DHE-45 injections, high doses of steroids like prednisone or Solu-Medrol, and histamine desensitization therapy. High-Flow oxygen helps about 5% of the time if used quickly enough with proper set-up.

Comment from: Xxsj1989xx, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I am on sumatriptan, a nerve stimulator and oxygen but I still get them, I suffer with chronic cluster headaches. I only just started my nerve stimulator so seeing how it goes.

Comment from: Dill, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 31

I have suffered from cluster migraines for over forty years. I have just about tried every tablet, oxygen, injections, etc. My doctor put me under the hospital migraine clinic directly as they were pretty severe. They always lasted for a period of 12 to 14 weeks with approximately 18 months between clusters. About fifteen years ago they put me on Deseril (methysergide), which was the only drug that ever worked. I did get migraines but maybe just one every two weeks rather than each or every other day. Then about seven years ago I had a bad migraine and the side of my face dropped, the pain had caused a Bell's palsy. The doctor put me on a two week course of steroids and although it took six weeks for my face to return to normal, my migraines just stopped. I did not have another cluster spell for two years, my doctor prescribed steroids again and migraines were no more. I know some doctors are a bit reluctant to prescribe these drugs, but boy do they work. Prednisolone I think it was, 40 mg a day for a week and then reduced the amount for a week.

Comment from: LFitz, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I have suffered cluster headaches (CH) for 26 years. I normally have them for 6 to 8 weeks and then go years without. After 4 to 5 years of no CH and then bam! No rhyme or reason. I did find relief from the Excedrin medicine for migraine. It didn't end those but helped lessen the duration. This year I tried Maxalt. That seemed to really help. Once I have the first twinge I take one and I won’t get the CH. The problem is I get up to 3 a day and the insurance only allows 10 per month. I feel for all of you who suffer.

Comment from: Andy, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 20

I have had cluster headaches (CH) on and off for the past 9 years and during that time I have had several different medicines. The only effective treatment that I found was prednisolone (steroids) but unfortunately I can only have this for a couple of months and then have to stop. No other medicine that I have tried has been successful. I could almost set the clock to the regularity of my CH and symptoms include runny nose/eye on right side of face with pain continuing into my jaw, neck and ear. An effective treatment I have found is to place a pack of frozen peas on my head above my eye and hold it there till I can bear that pain no longer! It takes my mind off of my CH. I hope this helps someone afflicted by these extremely painful and distressing attacks.


Who suffers more frequently from migraine headaches? See Answer
Comment from: Lea, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I actually found that Botox has helped both the frequency and severity of the cluster headaches (CH). I get the physical signs - droopy eyelid and nasal discharge of a CH but not the pain.

Comment from: chadnjen9182, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: March 14

I also suffer from the cluster headache behind the left eye. I do not know what causes it, I used to think it was stress but now it seems random. The only method that has ever worked is hot shower in the dark and I mean hot. Humming to keep the mind off the pain and then cold shower. It sounds like I’m off my rocker but if you’re like me, you know. I would beat myself over the head with a rock if I thought it would help. Hang in there fellow cluster freaks.

Comment from: Charlie L., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 07

My visit from the cluster headaches (CH) usually begins an hour into sleep. The pain is so excruciating that I feel if a gun were in the house, I"d be tempted. I have a loving wife who feels so helpless but does her best to help with whatever she can. I was in remission for the last 4 months. Oxygen has been my savior, 10 to 12 liters a minute cuts the CH down from 45 minutes to 10 to 15 minutes. Ice on the back of my neck also helps but O2 is the best for me. I want to say to anyone that has these, hang in there. Try anything your doctor puts in front of you, sooner or later you can find some relief.

Comment from: LenR, 65-74 (Patient) Published: December 27

I'm a former cluster head! About 12 years ago, I met an ENT physician who claimed to have cured at least 6 patients. If you are a sufferer, you know that "cure" and "cluster headaches" are rarely connected. He surgically removed bone spurs in my nose, and, voila, cured! I've not had one since.

Comment from: MNRS, (Patient) Published: August 13

I have had cluster headaches (CH) since child hood, nobody knew what it was then. Through the years I have suffered like the rest of you, same signs and symptoms, tried everything medically approved, till one day I was placed on an antidepressant. That was approximately 10 years ago, I swear I have not had one yet, go figure, maybe it took care of some chemical imbalance that we all have in the brain.

Comment from: brenny, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 16

I suffered cluster headaches for 3 to 4 years. Then my brother said, try chelated magnesium 500 mg. I take 2000 mg a day and I haven’t had one since I began taking them 3 years ago. It’s funny but if I feel my shadow coming; I know I haven’t had my magazine; can only try it.

Comment from: Applecor, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

For cluster headache I shock the body with cold. Mainly pouring cold water over my head with a bucket or shower. This seems to stop/lessen the CH when they start, doesn't end the cycle though.