Extremely short duraction stabbing headaches - are they cluster?

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Posted by Jay C. ( on April 25, 2000 at 23:35:55:

I'm new to this board, so I'm not sure if HTML tags are accepted. Please excuse me if they are not.

I've been suffering from these headaches for at least 4 or 5 years now. I'm currently 25.

They normally come on with no warning and last less than a few minutes. The pain is always located on one side of my head - normally on the left side but very rarely on the right side (tonight was actually the first time I experienced it on the right side). The center of the pain is behind and above my temple, and feels like its in the center of the brain hemisphere. The headaches occur maybe once every three days - though the frequency is highly variable.

The pain is absolutely excruciating. The best way I can decribe it is an ice pick being driven into the side of my skull. However, the duration is so short that it hasn't been an overwhelming issue for me.

Does this sound like a cluster headache? After doing my research it sounds like they could very well be, with the exception of two variables that are different than typical cluster headache symptoms: the duration is shorter than a typical cluster headache (mine lasting less than a minute typically), and the location seems to be different than a typical cluster (being more on the side of my head and not such much behind the eye).

One other thing to note... and that I really can't help but think about at the moment considering I'm currently suffering from it... is that tonight's episode has been different from others in that not only is the side different then normal, but its been more prolonged - almost a persistant dull, burning pain punctuated be frequent stabs of pain. The nature of the pain and location (although mirrored in the opposite hemisphere) are otherwise identical to other episodes I've had. It's been going on for about an hour now.

Any ideas? Could these be cluster headaches? If not, what might they be? I asked a doctor a few years ago about them and he dismissed them as migraines. I knew he was full of it then and I'm even more convinced of that now.

Any help is, of course, greatly appreciated.


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