Stabbing headache as a variant of cluster headache

One of the most common health complaints is headache. There are many types of headaches and many causes. Each form of headache has its own characteristics. It is important to know which form you have if you suffer a lot from headaches, in order to determine the cause and be able to effectively combat the pain. With a stabbing headache, the pain mainly occurs on one side of the head.

Variant of cluster headache

So there is no tightening feeling or a dull pain throughout the head. This stabbing headache is considered a special form of cluster headache, but can also occur as a result of tension. In the latter case, it falls under tension headaches, which is also one of the types of headaches that doctors distinguish.

Characteristics of a stabbing headache

Stabbing headaches can already occur when, for example, eating an ice cream. As a result of a large temperature difference, a short-term stabbing headache may occur in someone who is sensitive to it. However, if there is a stabbing headache that falls into the type of cluster headache, then there are other characteristics in addition to an intense stabbing or cutting pain:

  • The pain is always one-sided; this means that you always feel it on one side of your head.
  • Radiation of the pain to other parts of the head; The stabbing pain is usually located behind or around the eye and radiates to the temples, the back of the head, or the upper jaw.
  • There are side effects; the degree of side effects may differ from person to person and common ones are a red eye on the side of the pain, a watery eye, a blocked nose or a runny nose, a sweaty forehead, a drooping eyelid, or a swelling eyelid after the attack.
  • The attacks last from 15 minutes to about 3 hours without treatment.
  • Fortunately, really serious attacks do not occur very often.

Cause and treatment of stabbing headache

The attacks of stabbing headaches can occur several times a day and are therefore often an obstacle to the daily life of the people who suffer from them. It is not known exactly what causes the attacks. Factors such as heredity, seasonal changes, rapid temperature changes, stress, caffeine-containing products, poor sleep and excessive alcohol consumption are probably influencing factors, but this has never been scientifically proven. Because there are no clear causes, treatment is only aimed at pain relief and reducing attacks. The medicine Triptan is a good remedy against this form of headache, and it is also advisable to avoid the aforementioned triggering factors as much as possible.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are a very painful type that mainly occurs in men and are also described as a form of migraine. This headache is characterized by throbbing or stabbing pain, usually on one side. The headache comes in attacks that also disappear again. Due to the recurring recurrence of these groups of attacks, this headache is called cluster headache. People are sometimes pain-free for months and then there can be a period of weeks or months in which cluster headaches keep coming back. Not everything is yet known about the cause, but the fifth cranial nerve appears to have an influence. However, attacks can be provoked by, for example, flies and alcohol.