Cluster Headache Treatment

In general, treatment options for cluster headaches include lifestyle changes, medications to stop an acute attack, and medications to prevent further headaches. Treatment will vary based on the frequency and severity of the headaches a person is having. Other treatment options (histamine desensitization or surgery) may be recommended for those who do not respond to medicines.

An Overview of Cluster Headache Treatment Options

There is no "one size fits all" treatment plan for cluster headaches. Many different treatments or combinations of treatments for cluster headaches are available, based on their frequency, severity, and the level of disability they are causing.
In general, your healthcare provider may recommend one or several different treatment options, including:
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications for an acute attack
  • Preventive medications.
Before making any treatment recommendations, your healthcare provider will consider your particular situation, including other medical conditions you may have, previous medicines that you have tried, and your individual needs. You and your healthcare provider can then work together to develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Lifestyle Changes for Treating Cluster Headaches

There are a number of lifestyle changes that may decrease the severity or frequency of cluster headaches. These changes may be especially important during the cluster period. According to the National Headache Foundation, lifestyle changes include avoiding the following:
  • Afternoon naps (or other significant changes in sleeping habits)
  • Alcohol (especially during a cluster period)
  • Nicotine
  • Prolonged physical activity
  • Extreme altitude changes
  • Prolonged exposure to chemical agents, including cleaning solvents, gasoline, and oil-based paint
  • Excessive bursts of anger or extreme emotion.
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Cluster Headache

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