There isn't a forum for cluster headaches (that I saw) so I thought I'd post this here. I suffer from both migraines and cluster headaches. Trying to explain the two is difficult, and it took me a while even to understand them. For me, they both reside in my right temple (or at least start there), but migraines tend to take over the whole right side and leave me unable to move (especially if they are present when I wake up). Whereas cluster headaches leave me restless and unable to really be still. I can still (most of the time) at least pretend to be normal during either of them (with the exceptions of waking up with a migraine, in which case there's no moving until it's gone).
Cluster headaches (as the name implies) come in clusters. So, once a cluster starts I know I'll be seeing that same headache again and again until it finally goes away (weeks or months later, typically). The headache will show up about
the same time each day (sometimes multiple times in a day). It feels like an ice pick is being rammed through my right eye (and much like migraines, bright light, noise, smells can make it worse). Often during a cluster I will have both the cluster headaches and the migraines, with one turning into the other making it difficult to function. After several years of this, I have learned how to function despite the pain (for the most part) even if it's not at full capacity, I get by. But, it still hurts like hell.
Anyway, just before my most recent cluster started I saw my neuro for the usual bi-annual visit, and we talked about
Verapimil. I'd heard good things about
it for the cluster headaches so I was willing & ready to give it a try. Of course 3 days after I started it the cluster started. I'd initially asked him to start me low (as it usually doesn't take much for a med to work on me), so he started me at 100mg/day. When the cluster started 3 days later I called and he upped the dosage to 184 along with throwing a steroid pack at me (he's done this before and it has never had an effect). Finally, after 10 days of the cluster it died down. I think that's the shortest cluster period I've had (usually they are a couple of months), so I'm really hopeful that the Verapimil is doing the trick.
Julie,Counting My Spoons
- Living well despite chronic illness.
Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Cluster Headaches, Endometriosis, Hypothyroid