Font Size
A
A
A
...
5
...

Cluster Headache (cont.)

Exams and Tests

  • Your doctor must rule out a variety of other causes of facial pain besides cluster headache, including the following unusual forms of headache and facial pain.
    • Atypical neuralgia
    • Myofascial pain
    • Temporomandibularjoint pain
    • Trigeminal neuralgia
    • Local disease in the sinuses, jaw, throat, and bones of your head
  • Your first experience of a severe explosive headache may be a warning of subarachnoid hemorrhage or bleeding in your head or brain. This is a neurological emergency that doctors are at the ready to treat.
  • A severe headache also can be a warning of a brain tumor or infection in your head. Both these conditions are rare, but because they are life threatening, your doctor will want to rule these out first.
  • Physical examination of your head will help define other possible causes of this painful syndrome. Physical findings in people with cluster headache between attacks are usually normal. During headache attacks, these symptoms may occur:
    • Eye tearing
    • Pupil of the eye narrows
    • Lack of sweating over one-half of your face
    • Nasal stuffiness
    • Facial and eye redness
  • A doctor should complete an initial examination of your nerve response. But doctors reserve more extensive testing, such as a CT scan or MRI, for people in whom they suspect a more serious condition:
    • Skull or brain tumor
    • Infection
    • Neurological condition
    • A doctor may also advise you that a lumbar puncture ("spinal tap") is needed. This may help to establish if the cause of the headache is from an infection, or from bleeding in or around your brain.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Cluster Headache

Cluster Headache FAQs
Cluster Headache FAQs Acute angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a rapid or sudden increase in pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP). In angle-closure glaucoma, t...learn more >>
Migraine and Cluster Headache Medications
Migraine and Cluster Headache Medications Migraines are headaches that most likely stem from problems with blood vessels in the head. Migraine headaches typically last from 4-72 hours. They may happen a...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cluster Headache:

Cluster Headache - Symptoms

What symptoms do you experience with your cluster headaches?

Cluster Headaches - Patient Experience

Do you have cluster headaches? Please describe your experience?

Cluster Headaches - Treatment

What kind of treatment did you receive for your cluster headaches? Was it effective?



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cluster Headache »

Cluster headache (CH) is an idiopathic syndrome consisting of recurrent brief attacks of sudden, severe, unilateral periorbital pain.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary