Cluster headaches present as sudden and intense pain in the head. The pain is most often felt over and around one of the eyes.

Cluster Headaches Symptoms, Causes and Treatment 

The condition often affects smokers and men aged 20 years old and above. Cluster headaches can still be experienced by anybody regardless of gender and age group.

Consult with a physician via Mobidoctor’s online doctor service if you think you’re experiencing cluster headaches. The physician will speak with you about your symptoms, diagnose your cluster headache properly, and give you a prescription and advice to treat the condition.

What causes cluster headaches?

There is no conclusive evidence that points out a specific cause of cluster headaches. However, recent research points out a link between the trigeminal nerve in the face and the eye pain associated with the condition.


Cluster headaches are almost as painful as migraines. Pain intensity can even be more severe than those experienced with a migraine. The pain can make a sufferer uneasy and unable to lie down or sit during an attack. But this intense bout of pain is just quick and doesn’t last as long as migraine pain does.


Cluster headaches tend to affect people older than 20 years and can show up in men more often than in women. They are also characterised by remission episodes, with attacks showing up several times before stopping for a few months or years.

Symptoms of cluster headaches

Distinguishing symptoms of cluster headaches include sudden bouts of pain affecting one eye. This pain could also be felt spreading to the sides of the head, face, or gums. A bout of pain may last for around 15 minutes to an hour.


Other symptoms may include the following:


  • Dilated pupil in the affected eye
  • Bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Increased facial sweating
  • Ear redness
  • Blocked or runny nostrils


Cluster headaches appear to follow your sleeping patterns and tend to happen at the same time every day. Attacks may last for weeks or months before it goes into remission, coming back after several months or years after the last pain episode.

Treating and managing cluster headaches

Management and treatment of cluster headaches circle around the alleviation of symptoms. You should talk to your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing, even more so if suspect it is a part of an underlying disease. Your doctor can give you specific treatment and could possibly order a brain scan to rule out other conditions in the event of a severe cluster headache.


Over-the-counter painkillers are not enough to treat the pain associated with cluster headaches. Your doctor can prescribe stronger medications and can refer you to a specialist for further treatment options.


The typical treatment used in managing cluster headaches include the following:


  • Sumatriptan injections
  • Sumatriptan nasal sprays
  • Oxygen therapy is given through a special mask


Other possible techniques to alleviate pain could include:


  • Direct nerve stimulation under the supervision of your physician
  • Local anaesthetic use
  • Other medications as prescribed by a specialist


Your doctor will usually let you try out a few of these interventions first to see if they are effective for you. Not all these treatment options are guaranteed to work for everyone; their efficacy highly varies among individuals.

Speak to a doctor about cluster headaches

Book an online video consultation with Mobidoctor GPs right now if you need help with your cluster headaches. Diagnosis, treatment options, referrals, and sound medical advice are all within your fingertips’ reach today. Our caring doctors are here to help ease your symptoms and make you feel better faster.