Cluster headaches are a severe type of headache with attacks that occur over the course of 24 hours, mostly during the night. This usually lasts for about several weeks or months and are followed by a remission period that can last months or years. Although they are not dangerous, these attacks are very painful and they require medical management. But there are also some home remedies that can help you prevent or ease the symptoms.
Let’s see what are the things you can do at home or the alternative treatments you can try for cluster headaches:
People who suffer from cluster headaches have a low level of melatonin. This hormone can help your body regulate your sleep patterns but also prevent or treat migraines. If you suffer from this debilitating chronic condition and you want a more natural approach to treat that severe, recurring, throbbing pain, you can try some melatonin supplements. They usually come in doses between 10 and 25 mg.
A topical remedy, this over-the-counter cream can reduce your cluster headache severity when applied on the inside of your nose. So the next time you want to target the source of the headache pain with a treatment that has less side effects than the traditional methods, use a cotton swab to apply the cream and achieve rapid pain relief. This remedy can desensitize your trigeminal nerve, depleting the neurotransmitter that is responsible for the pain you experience.
Deep breathing exercises
Oxygen therapy is one of the best treatments to calm your body and manage that cluster headache, especially if used in conjunction with medication. Not only breathing exercise can help you control your stress but they can lower anxiety and curb your symptoms without any side effects.
Some types of headaches are associated with a low level of magnesium, therefore integrating this mineral into your diet or taking some magnesium supplements can help you achieve a meaningful relief. Studies suggested that magnesium can ease headache symptoms by 50% for half of people that suffer from this disease. You only need to take 400 mg each day for at least three months in a row but ask your doctor first because it can interfere with other meds.
This botanical supplement that can increase the cerebral blood flow in the brain can be an effective treatment for cluster headaches. Its roots and extracts are used in the alternative medicine to treat a variety of health problems from hypertension to intestinal obstruction and alcoholism but those who used it to cope with their headaches, reported a decreased intensity of attacks (69%), decreased frequency (56%), and decreased duration (31%), with minimal side effects.
Cluster headache symptoms
Most people who suffer from this debilitating disease experience strong headaches that begin without any warning, usually in the middle of the night. The pain sets behind the eye or on one side of the face and it can even lead to eye redness or tearing on the place where the headache originated. Sometimes the affected side can be swollen, with a constricted pupil, dropping eyelid and runny nose. Tingling or numbness in your arms and fingers are also common and you might even feel agitated or restless. These severe pains usually begin at the same time each day or every year and their cause is still unknown.
Cluster headache causes
There are more theories that linked cluster headaches to the activity in the hypothalamus because this area controls the pain in the face and behind the eyes. It also contains some reflex pathways that can trigger several sensations such as numbness, throbbing or tingling when activated. The same group of nerves can cause eye redness and tearing so most of cluster headache symptoms seem to be related to the way your hypothalamus work.
Cluster headache prevention
Certain lifestyle changes can help you reduce the occurrence and frequency of cluster headaches, especially if you have a consistent sleeping routine, avoid tobacco, alcohol or other stimulants and increase your physical activity.
Studies have suggested that when you improve your circadian rhythm is less likely to experience headaches because sleep disturbances are a common trigger for all types of migraines.
Quitting smoking may also help you achieve a more consistent sleep schedule while improving your nerve responses.
Alcohol can also trigger headaches as a part of post intoxication so consider limiting your intake if you want to prevent this disease to occur more often.
Getting daily exercise can improve blood circulation to the brain, reduce stress, improve sleep patterns and reduce the frequency of cluster headaches.
When to see a doctor
If you have cluster headaches, you already know that the pain you experience is reason to seek medical help. Talk to your doctor, tell him that you’re also considering plant-based supplements and find a treatment plan that is right for you. Don’t take herbs remedies without consulting your doctor about their interaction with your meds.
Most commonly prescribed treatments are steroids, occipital nerve blocking meds, intranasal lidocaine, injectable sumatriptan or oxygen delivered by mask.
Although these headaches don’t last forever and their symptoms usually disappear within a few days or worse weeks, you can try your doctor-prescribe treatments in conjunction with any of these home remedies and make your life easier.