Cluster Headaches Treatment: While cluster headaches are most often managed with medications and other medical interventions, there may be some things you can also do at home to help ease or prevent symptoms.
Cluster headaches are a severe type of headache.
People with cluster headaches can experience attacks in which several severe headaches occur over the course of 24 hours. They most often occur at night.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Daily cluster headache attacks can continue to happen for weeks or months, after which a period of remission can occur. This remission period can last for months or even years.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Cluster headaches tend to differ vastly from other types of headaches. They can be very severe and often require medical management. Though they can be very painful, cluster headaches aren’t dangerous.
Cluster Headaches Treatment: Home remedies for cluster headaches
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Currently, there are few home remedies that are effective and no known cures.
There’s some limited scientific information on home remedies for cluster headaches that might be helpful, but they’re not proven with research.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, A 2017 review concluded that evidence for the use of alternative treatments in cluster headaches was lacking or required additional research
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Below, we’ll explore some of the information that’s currently available but not proven.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Melatonin is a hormone that your body uses to regulate your sleeping patterns. People who get cluster headaches often have low melatonin levels.
Melatonin supplements at doses between 10 and 25 milligrams may help to prevent cluster headaches when taken before bedtime. However, melatonin treatment may be less effective in people with chronic cluster headaches.
2. Capsaicin cream
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Topical capsaicin cream can be purchased over the counter and may be used to help manage cluster headaches. This analgesic can be gently applied to the inside of your nose using a cotton swab.
Small older studies indicated that capsaicin cream reduced cluster headache severity.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, However, a 2019 study found that while capsaicin cream was easy to access and had few side effects, it had limited effectiveness compared with other treatments.
3. Deep breathing exercises
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Oxygen therapy is one of the main treatments for a cluster headache attack. Getting extra oxygen into your bloodstream can calm your body and help you manage pain.
While there’s limited research into deep breathing techniques and cluster headaches, it may help to utilize them in conjunction with your medications during an attack.
Box breathing and pursed lip breathing are also powerful stress-relieving techniques.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Low magnesium levels have been associated with some types of headaches. Therefore, you may consider taking magnesium supplements or integrating foods high in magnesium into your diet.
A small older study involving 22 people with cluster headaches showed that magnesium sulfate gave “meaningful relief” to 41 percent of participants.
However, additional research into magnesium for cluster headaches is limited.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, If you’re considering magnesium supplementation, or any supplementation, be sure to speak to your doctor first.
5. Kudzu extract
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Kudzu extract is a botanical supplement that comes from the kudzu vine. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that kudzu may help with cluster headaches.
A small study published in 2009 identified 16 participants who used kudzu extract for cluster headaches.
While many reported decreased intensity or frequency of attacks, more rigorous studies are needed to determine the actual efficacy of kudzu extract.
Cluster headache symptoms
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Common cluster headache symptoms include:
Severe headache pain that sets in behind your eye or on one side of your face
Headache that begins without any warning, often waking you in the night
Headaches that start at the same time each day or the same time every year
Several severe headaches that last between 15 minutes to 3 hours, within a 24-hour period
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Eye redness and tearing on the side of your face where your headache pain originated
Runny or stuffy nose on the affected side
Swelling of the eyes or face
Drooping eyelid or constricted pupil on the side where you have pain
Numbness or tingling on one side of your face or in your arms or fingers
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Feeling restless or agitated
Cluster headache causes
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Researchers are still working to understand what causes cluster headaches. Many different theories continue to be put forward and tested.
Most likely, cluster headaches are connected to activity in your hypothalamus.
Located at the base of your brain, the hypothalamus contains reflex pathways that control pain in your face and behind your eyes.
When this nerve pathway is activated, it triggers sensations of:
Cluster Headaches Treatment, This same group of nerves can also stimulate eye tearing and redness.
Cluster Headaches Treatment: Cluster headache prevention
While there’s no cure for cluster headaches, making certain lifestyle changes may help you reduce the frequency of headaches.
Consistent sleep schedule
Cluster Headaches Treatment, A consistent sleep schedule may help improve your circadian rhythm. Research suggests that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule may lead to fewer cluster headaches.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Smokers tend to have cluster headaches more often compared with nonsmokers.
While quitting smoking might not cause cluster headaches to stop completely, it may help improve your body’s sleep patterns and nerve responses.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Quitting smoking may be difficult, but it’s possible. Speak to a doctor about finding a personalized smoking cessation program.
Cluster Headaches Treatment, While you’re experiencing cluster headaches, consuming alcohol may trigger a headache to come on. Consider limiting your alcohol intake to prevent this from occurring.
Getting daily exercise
Cluster Headaches Treatment, Daily cardiovascular exercise may improve circulation to your brain, reduce stress, and help you sleep better.