Please help- CLuster Headache??!?!!

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/9/2007 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Okay i feel HORRIBLE right now so i'm going to try not to explain EVERY DETAIL OF MY PAST TO YOU.

I've been dealing with migraines for over 14 years..and i'm only 23 years old..had mri's..catscans..etc...nothing more serious than just being diagnosed with MIGRAINES>>

tried bloodpressure meds as preventatives...didn't work.. of december 2nd..found my BEST MEDICATION SO FAR (preventative) Topamax...

things have been going WONDEFRFULLY on this ....went from having 3-4 BAD MIGRAINES per week down to ONE in the last two montsh..with the exception of getting ACUTE SINUSITIS and being put on an antibiotic to get rid of that..and once that was gone...i was migraine free for the past two months... MIRACLE RIGHT???

I've also been able to point out that i'm getting menstruation my doctor is going to put me on Paxel (sp?) for 10 days prior to my menstruation to prevent mentrual if this works..i'll be thrilled...since the topamax has been working WONDERFULLY>.


I have been getting REALLLY bad migraines for the past 6 days in the morning and evening on and off, which i thought were related to my sinus infection COMING back...and i got it back REALLY BAD yesterday and took my TWO imitrex that i'm allowed in 24 hours...and they did NOTHING...I took aleve, I took excedrine..I took anything I could think of that would possibly HELP...and NOTHING>...

I'm a third grade teacher and had to call in sick this morning and this just devastates me...because this is my sixth sick tday this year (THE others were before the topamax i'm feeling a bit better about that...but still)..i called my doc right away and to my surprise he WAS ABLE TO FIT ME IN....and i went in...and apparently my migraine is NOT sinus related....AND he said that i've been suffering from CLUSTER HEADACHES all week..

WELL i'm going on 48 hours straight of what i've felt is a MIGRAINE (since i've been suffering from them for over 14 years..) but all my migrain meds haven't done a THING...and he's given me steroid medications to take...iv'e taken 3 of the 6 that i have to take for today and so far it hasn't helped.....I feel like someone is stabbing a KNIFE into my head (like a usual migraine) ubt i need SOMEONE TO TELL ME SOMETHING that can help relieve SOME OF THE PAIN....
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS??? I never knew i suffered from these cluster headaches...I don't even know what the difference is now...between a cluster headache and a migraine..and i feel now that I was already confused on how to prevent my migraines and get those under NOW what am I going to do when I throw THESE into the mix.

I REALLY WANT TO GET RID OF THIS PAIN i feel right now though...I've been crying in pain for the past two days now...and I have something really important's my best friend's birthday and i need to go shopping for her gift, and I wanted to actually enjoy my night tonight.

PLEASE offer any suggestions you guys have. I've tried laying down all day....this only half works..half makes it worse......I've tried an ice cold washcloth (usually helps my migraines....- not really helping).....had been taking HOT HOT BATHS all week thinking it was hleping my "sinuses"...and it did at first..and now it's ineffective...

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! Please?

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 2/10/2007 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Sorry you are going through all of this right now. There are a few differences between a migraine and cluster headache: Migraines usually last longer than 4 hours up to 72 hours, where clusters last from 15 minutes to 3 hours approximately, with a cluster to reoccur again sometimes throughout the day/night-hence the name (sometimes set like clockwork). The pain for a cluster is usually centered in the eye, like a stabbing, etc. Also, with a migraine you seek to lay down, where with a cluster you pace/bang your head, etc. Granted this is just what I have learned/my experience--so others my have some more input also...

You said you have tried Imitrex, what type are you using (pill, nasal, injection). With clusters-injection usually works best to get the quickest result. Also, 100% oxygen at a high flow rate can work, but needs a non-rebreather mask (not nasal, etc.).

Hopefully the steroids will kick in soon and give you a break!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 2/12/2007 5:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi 23yroldmigrainesufferer,

Sorry to hear that you have been suffering with all this at the moment. You said you had taken 3 of the 6 steroids that you had been given when you posted and they had no effect, what regime for the steroids did your Doctor give you?

Also as mommyto3 has said the tablet form of Imitrex does not work for Cluster Headache, you really need the injectable form, but again you need to talk to your Doctor about this together with fast flow oxygen! Has your Doctor referred you on to a Neurologist about your Cluster Headache?

Hang in there and we will try and support you as best we can.

take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 2/12/2007 3:55 PM (GMT -6)   
23yrold -

Been there, done that. I'm 24. I've had migraines since I was a child (hereditary in my family). Blood pressure medications did not work for me. I did the topamax thing. I went from 20 migraines a month down to 1-2 a month. It was wonderful.

Note I said the word 'was'. After about 6 months my migraines started coming back more regularly. We had to adjust the dosage (up). This happened again. The third time my body just couldn't take it - I flipped out, I had constant pain in my head/neck/shoulders, I would snap at my wife for no apparent reason, and I was not productive at work. Now I'm not on a high dosage of topamax anymore and I'm taking Depakote.

My 'emergency' migraine killer is Immitrex injections. The pills never helped (ive taken 10+ samples in my life, it has never touched a migraine... the injection delivery method just works for me). Maybe that might work for you too. And if it doesn't be really persistant with your doctor, ask for samples, try all different kinds of abortives to figure out what works for you. Don't be surpised though if they won't give you more than 1-2 types at a time though because mixing tripitans is dangerous.

Other than that ... here are some temporary relief things to try.

- cold compress to the head, soft bed, completely dark room. Try to sleep ...
- very firm massage to the upper back/neck (as hard as you can tolerate)

I'm a guy so I can't speak about menstruation migraines, etc. I'm just glad my wife puts up with me :) I know I'm less than joyful to be with when I have a migraine.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 2/12/2007 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
oxygen is great for clusster headaches. my neuro. says that he will prescribe it in a sec. if I had clussters, but I have just migraines. Suggest it. ANNUK uses O2. Just a suggestion.
DX-Migraines:Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome:Kidney stones: IBS:Ulcers:Depression/Anxiety:Non-Epileptic Seizures:Buldging Disc:Joint pain
Surgeries- two jaw surgeries, appendectomy, numerous lap. surgeries, cyst removal
Meds: Lexapro 20mg, Klonopin 1mg, Trazodone 50mg
(PRN- Imitrex INJ, Pherergan, Stadol NS, DiaStat, Rantidine, Zanaflex)
May God give you a reason to smile today, an extra reason to laugh, and bring joy to your soul.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/15/2007 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, thank you guys for all of your suggestions. Unfortunately, yesterday was the last day of my steroid medication. I thought i had made it through...because the last two days I was "free" of headaches.

Today i woke up with a headache...It more feels like a "weight" or "pressure" in my neck and all in my ears and head and i felt very sick to my stomach all morning and all day. It almost feels as though I took my imitrex (almost like a side effect you get right after you take the imitrex..before it kicks in..when you start to feel the pressure...but before it actually works)..but I still feel like's a weird feeling..and so yeah...I don't know what it is.

It doesn't feel like a MIGRAINE>.but it doesn't feel like a CLUSTER headache. I suffer from TMJ also..and keep catching myself clenching my jaw..and so the pressure could be from that, but this is so frustrating...because my head just HURTS in general..but i can't really describe the pain. It's not a POUNDING..but more a "pressure"...and I know it's not "sinuses", because that's waht i originially thought it was..and my doctor pretty much told me it wasn't.

I'm just sick of dealing with headaches/migraines on a daily basis! I'm hoping to actually enjoy a friday for a change! (tomorrow)

Thanks again though for all of the suggestions!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 617
   Posted 2/19/2007 3:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey 23yroldmigrainesufferer,
I think you are missing information on a whole catagory of headaches.  Rebound headaches.  These headaches are caused by taking too much medication.  If you get a migraine, you take a prescribed dosage for it.  If you take more than prescribed, or more frequently than prescribed, you can kind of burn out the way the pain killer is supposed to work.  Thus, you still have a headache, so you take something else, which doesn't work either, and the cycle is perpetuated. 
This can happen with both prescribed medication from your DR and/or Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication like Excedrin.  You should never take pain medication more than one or two days a week, even if that means suffering for a few days without taking any medication.  That's the only way to break the cycle of the constant rebound headaches. 
I'm pretty sure that you are not having cluster headaches.  Cluster headaches are incredibly painful, like migraines, but last a shorter time.  They can last several hours, stop, then come right back just as bad.  They can have minutes or hours between attacks, repeating for several days, then disappear for weeks, even months.  This doesn't sound like your problem.
Hormones changes are big time triggers for female migraine sufferers.  You mentioned that your DR is putting you on Paxil, which is used as an anti-depressant, and affects your brain chemistry.   You should definitely stay away from alcohol when you are taking this kind of medication.
I hope this information helps.
Leigh Ann cool

"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 2/19/2007 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi 23yroldmigrainesufferer,

The Doc who told you that what you were suffering from was Cluster Headache, was this Doc a Neurologist? If he/she was not, I would recommend that you get this diagnosis confirmed by a Neurologist.

I do hope you can get some painfree time soon. Take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

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