Cluster Headache Diagnosis
Is the Diagnosis Cluster Headaches or Another Medical Condition?There are many conditions that can cause headaches. Sometimes, these headaches may signify a serious condition, such as bleeding around the brain, meningitis, or glaucoma. The healthcare provider will consider these conditions when the headache is new or clearly different from other headaches experienced in the past.
For people with headaches that have occurred for years (known as chronic headaches), the healthcare provider will consider other conditions. Besides cluster headaches, other possible causes of chronic headaches include:
- Migraine headaches
- Tension headache (also known as tension-type headache or stress headache)
- Cervical spine disease, including arthritis of the neck
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Dental disease.
When to Visit Your Healthcare Provider for HeadachesThe National Headache Foundation suggests that you talk to your healthcare provider about your headaches if:
- You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
- Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
- You have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems
- You have headaches along with a fever, weight loss, or shortness of breath.
You should also talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you have any of the following:
- Your headache is new or different in its location or severity
- It is your "worst headache ever"
- You experience a "thunderclap" headache, which has a peak intensity within seconds to minutes
- You have sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, hand, or legs (especially if it is only on one side) or other possible transient ischemic stroke (TIA) or stroke symptoms.