Cluster headaches vs Migraine

Cluster headache is a debilitating condition that is affecting more and more people over time. In America, estimates have the prevalence of cluster headache at around 200,000 to 1 million people. Osteopath Tim explores how  cluster headaches differ from migraine.

Symptoms of Cluster Headaches vs. Migraine

One of the challenges is differentiating cluster headache from migraine. Many people will be misdiagnosed as both of these conditions tend to present in a similar way. There are however some key distinguishing symptoms that can help tell the difference.
  1. The non-painful symptoms tend to be slightly different. Migraine pain often presents with symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to sound and light. On the other hand, cluster headaches will present with one or more of: watery eyes, a runny nose, drooping eyelid, swelling in the eyelid or forehead sweating.
  2. People with migraine tend to get relief from laying down in a dark room. This isn’t often the case with cluster headaches, where individuals tend to be very restless and have a hard time lying still.
  3. People with cluster headaches usually have long periods of time between attacks in comparison to migraine. When an episode of cluster headaches begins, the attacks are often a string of intense, frequent bouts of pain (1-8 per day). Following this though there may be months or even years before another attack.
Interestingly, unlike migraine men are affected 3 times more than women.
It’s extremely difficult to differentiate the different types of headache and migraine, especially when you’re suffering from one. If you’re concerned about your head pain and keen to explore what can be done to resolve it, our experienced Williamstown Osteopaths Sharyn, Cliff and Tim have learnt an evidence-based approach for assessment and treatment of headaches and migraines known as the Watson Headache Approach. This approach focuses on the joints and muscles of the upper neck and may help to reduce the occurrence of migraines. Cluster_Headache