What are cluster headaches?

Cluster headaches are headaches that are spaced close together, often occuring 1 to 2 times a day for several weeks. This cycle of headaches may suddenly stop altogether but can reappear weeks or even years later.

What they feel like. When you have cluster headaches, the pain is sudden and severe and often feels like a stabbing sensation on one side of your head. You may feel severe pain in one eye, which may turn red. You also may experience swelling around the affected eye.

How long they last. Cluster headaches usually last less than 1 hour and rarely longer than 4 hours.

What eases them. People who have cluster headaches usually move around trying to find a position to ease the pain. Some people even rock back and forth seeking relief or distraction.

What makes them worse. Both chronic smoking and alcohol use can make cluster headaches worse or even trigger them. Cluster headaches may also be associated with nasal congestion.

Who gets them. Cluster headaches occur most often in men between the ages of 20 and 40.

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