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Cluster Headache FAQs (cont.)

Will cluster headaches eventually go away on their own?

Cluster headaches sometimes resolve on their own, but they are usually a lifelong problem. Drug treatment plays a part in changing chronic headaches into episodic ones; otherwise, the drugs available today provide incomplete long-term relief.

Most people with episodic cluster headaches tend to keep that variety, eventually changing to the chronic form in only some cases. Mixed forms sometimes occur. Prolonged, spontaneous remissions (long headache-free periods that occur for unknown reasons) have occurred in up to 12% of subjects in some studies, particularly in those with episodic cluster headaches. Chronic cluster headaches are more stubborn and may persist in this form in about half of those who have them. Much less frequently, the chronic form changes to the episodic form.

People whose chronic headaches start later in life tend to have less favorable outcomes. Males and those with a history of episodic cluster headaches preceding the chronic type also have less favorable outcomes.

For More Information on Cluster Headaches

American Academy of Neurology
1080 Montreal Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55116
(651) 695-1940

American Headache Society
19 Mantua Road
Mt. Royal, NJ 08061
(609) 423-0258

National Headache Foundation
428 West St. James Place, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60614-2750
(888) NHF-5552 or (312) 388-6399

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
PO Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
(301) 496-5751

American Academy of Neurology

American Council for Headache EducationAmerican Headache Society

Cluster Headache Help

International Headache Society

JAMA & Archives Journals

National Headache Foundation

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The Mayday Pain Project

Worldwide Cluster Headache Support Group

Medically reviewed by Joseph Carcione, DO; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology


1. Lubin E. Cluster Headache. eMedicine Journal [serial online]. 2003.
2. Mendizabal J. Cluster Headache. eMedicine Journal [serial online]. 2003.
3. No author(s) listed. What Is a Cluster Headache?. UC Davis Health System Medical Conditions A-Z List [serial online]. 2003.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2016
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