Posted by Tom Leney on November 09, 2001 at 16:41:22:
Hi, This is my first posting. I have been reading your posts for several months.I thought I would pass on what I have learned from 25 years as a sufferer of cluster headaches. I started with them when I was in college at the age of 25 (I was a veteran). They continued until I was 50 years old. After 20 years of suffering I found out about oxygen. Breathing prue oxygen for about 5 minutes always ended the headache. At age 50 I ceased to have anymore headaches. My doctor said he expected that, since the headaches are caused by a dilation of the small blood vessels in the affected area, which is why cafergot and oxygen give relief. Both cause the small blood vessels to constrict and counter the dilation of these vessels.
As one gets older the ability to dilate the blood vessels diminshes, because the vessels lose flexibility. So the good news is they will go away, but you have become old to have it happen. I have not have a cluster headache for 20 years, except for one that occured in 1997 when I had a heart attack. They were giving me large doses of Nitro. to open the blood veesels. That caused the blood vessels in my face to dilate and bingo...a "cluster headache"
Within the last year a new beast has visited me. It is called Meniere's. It is an inner ear problem that causes extreme vertigo. You lose your balance and will fall down without support. You have uncontrolled eye movements and the room starts to spin. Of course you become sick to your stomach and vomit., which continues until you have dry heaves until your voice box is damaged and you stomach muscles are very sore. These attacks last several hours and are helped with valium, which helps you to sleep. After 2-4 hours of sleep I usually feel better, although I have had bouts that lasted for more that 24 hours. I get them in groups or "clusters" (sound familar?). I sometimes have 2-3 a week. I don't know which is worse, Meniere's or cluster headaches. I think I would vote for meniere's.
I just thought I would share my cluster headache experience with you.
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