Perhaps triggers do initiate clusters.

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Posted by NicholasD ( on February 23, 2000 at 00:22:45:

In Reply to: Why? posted by Todd on February 22, 2000 at 22:06:16:

From the American Heritage Dictionary on serotonin

serotonin (sr-tnn, sr-) n. An organic compound, C10H12N2O, formed from tryptophan and found in animal and human tissue, especially the brain, blood serum, and gastric mucous membranes, and active in vasoconstriction, stimulation of the smooth muscles, transmission of impulses between nerve cells, and regulation of cyclic body processes. [sero- + ton(e) + -in.]

For simplification let's assume from what you stated that a serotonin unbalance of some sort creates the symptoms of a cluster headache, let's also assume that certain prescribed medications can act or react to counter balance this unbalance and since medications are either injected, inhaled, or consumed orally, are chemical in nature, isn't it even remotely possible that other such chemicals (triggers as they are commonly caused) also receipted either by injection, inhalation, or orally can likewise have negative effects on the serotonin process?

I just underwent a long legal trial of whether my headaches were of the cluster type or the trauma type, the defense tried to prove my headaches were cluster as I have a 4" thick medical file on what neurologists call clusters where the plaintiff side stated that the nature of the accident related headaches were of the trauma type, I didn't use the term clusters, so called experts used this term, I also did not coin the term "trigger", this is a term that I picked up from many different neurologists. Jack seems to preach that cigarette smoking is a trigger and a major cause of clusters, my guess is that where cluster heads are different than other folks is how our bodies react to these triggers, I can get a hell of a cluster or whatever you want to call it by sniffing a bottle of chorine bleach, if I don't sniff it, I won't trigger a cluster, its that simple. Perhaps stress also creates this unbalance, and as you said, we are dealing with an unknown.

Each of us, I feel from just pure observation and living with these damn things for years reacts differently both to medications and to the triggers, there are no set rules. If you think something other than a trigger is the cause, perhaps some biological cycle or whatever or just a poor serotonin processing system, it would only make sense that such a person would have a continuously pseudo random type cluster that would last indefinitely, just varying in magnitude. Over the years, I have identified some of my triggers that I feel cause my imbalance and if I can share this with some other sufferers to ease their pain or learn some of the things they have done to ease theirs, so much the better.

Just one other tip I learned since my accident, if I get a cluster, cant no longer pace madly as that induces the trauma headache due to my injuries on top of the cluster headache, you can add an 11 to that pain scale, had to learn to lie down and completely submit to the pain of the cluster, I learned the hard way that this is actually better than trying to fight the pain.

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