Cluster Headaches; Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Relief

What causes cluster headaches?

The exact cause of headaches is yet to be established.

Unlike migraines, there are no environmental triggers linked to these headaches. Cluster headaches are linked to extreme activity in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is part of the brain that controls temperature, thirst, and hunger.

Over activity in the hypothalamus influences pressure in blood vessels. Increase or decrease in blood pressure due to contraction or expansion of arterial walls affects functionality of the brain. Decrease or increase in hypothalamus activity interrupts with communication function of the brain, which causes headaches.

Besides, the cyclical nature of cluster headaches links it to biological clock, which is controlled by the hypothalamus. The specific times for headaches and shifts in remission and cluster period exhibit characteristics of biological clock.

After a destabilization of the hypothalamus, environmental conditions and body activity can increase intensity of the headache. Excessive consumption of alcohol is one of the triggers. It is not much of a cause; alcohol only has impact on existing condition. Other triggers of cluster headaches include exercising in hot temperatures or sudden rise in temperatures.

Cluster headaches are not linked to any foods or environmental elements. Metal strain and anxiety has nothing to do with cluster headaches. However, some type of medications with high chemical concentration like nitroglycerin are linked to cluster headaches. The medication is often used to treat heart complications.

People experiencing frequent cluster headaches usually demonstrate low levels of melatonin and cortisol. In some people, the levels regain a normal level after an attack while in some, it sustains hence need for a boost.

People living in Northern countries are more prone to cluster headaches because of the extreme variations in temperatures. Sudden changes in temperature affect the brain balance hence triggering headache because of an already affected hypothalamus.