Do I Have Cluster Headaches? Here's my story-- (The post is a little long.)

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Posted by Matt on October 30, 2001 at 12:28:52:

I have been getting these headaches for approx. 4 years. For the most part I get them throughout the day. Sometimes they will occur at the same time daily, sometimes they will be random. I wouldn’t say I have definite cycles (i.e. they don’t ever stop for months at a time). They will cease and/or diminish in frequency though for periods of time. Basically for a few weeks or a month or so, I can have headaches 5-6 times a day, and then they will slow to 1-2 or (rarely) none, and again this lasts for matter of weeks. I more-or-less never get them at night. In the past I had only been woken up maybe three times w/ a headache, but in the past week I have been woken up four times about 30 min. after I go to bed w/ a headache. I have also noticed, and afternoon nap will trigger a headache. My headaches can last from maybe a half an hour to up to two hours. They come on gradually; I can feel the pain building. It is always on the same side, behind my left eye. I have experienced the “drooping” feeling, and when the pain gets bad enough my eye reddens and waters. My left nostril also clogs up. However the pain isn’t steady, it pulsates throughout the entire headache. Also, I am able to relieve the headache with aspirin, ibuprophin(sp?), or Tylenol IF I take the pills right at the ONSET of the headache. If I wait too long and the pain builds too high the aspirin etc. will have no effect and I have to ride it out. Needless to say, I always carry a pocket full of pills incase of a headache. I am in fear of doing serious damage to my body by taking too much. However, it is of course when the headaches become more frequent that I begin to worry. I think I try to forget about the problem when they aren’t too bad. It’s just getting to be too much, and I need to see a neurologist. By the way, I am 23 and I quit smoking a little over two years ago. I drink a little on the weekends, but the headaches continue so I don’t think that is a problem. I do drink TONS of milk and I have read that might be a problem, so I have decided to lay off for a while and see if it has an effect. Interestingly, after I quit smoking the headaches completely ceased for two weeks, but then they returned. Also, the pain some of you describe, by going to the ER and such seems a little more than I experience, but don’t get me wrong they HURT. I can do nothing but pace back and forth when they occur. I can stand noise while I am having a headache, but I would prefer it to be quiet. The same goes for light, I can stand it but dark is better, and I don’t like to be bothered by others, I prefer to be alone. On the Kip Scale I would say most of mine are in the 7 to 8 range. I took the cluster quiz and it points to clusters, but the pulsating, aspirin relief, etc. are giving me doubts on weather or not they are clusters. Please help me, and sorry for such a long post.


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