Recurring Cluster Headaches

clusterheadache2A cluster headache strikes quickly without warning with sharp, penetrating and burning pain.

People who suffer from them describe the pain like a hot poker being stuck in their eye.

Cluster headaches typically awaken a person from sleep 1 – 2 hours after they have fallen asleep.

Typically, at night these headaches are more severe than in the daytime.

They also appear to be linked to people’s biological clocks or circadian rhythm.

In terms of pain, cluster headaches can be much worse than a migraine attack.

They usually start before the age of 30 and are more common in men.

Causes And Triggers Of Cluster Headaches

The most common trigger of cluster headaches seems to be the seasons Spring and Autumn.

They are often mistakenly associated with stress or allergies.

Cluster headaches are also common in people who drink and smoke excessively.

Symptoms include:

  • Rapid onset of one-sided pain around the eye or temple.
  • Excruciating pain lasting for 15 minutes to 3 hours or more.
  • Usually occurs 2 hours after going to sleep.
  • Headaches occur in clusters often over several weeks followed by a headache-free period of 6 months to a year.
  • Some cluster headache sufferers have chronic headaches with no headache free period.

A man and a woman on a pier

Associated symptoms:

  • Tearing
  • Red eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Facial sweating

Treatment Options

Emerging research on natural treatment options for cluster headaches is encouraging.

Below is a list of some natural treatments currently available.

Capsaicin (Cayenne pepper)

Patients at the New England Center for Headache found a decrease in cluster headaches after applying capsaicin cream inside their nostrils.

Capsaicin is an active component in Cayenne pepper acting as a natural pain reliever.

It causes a burning sensation for approximately 10 minutes which must occur for the treatment to be effective.

Use on the same side as the headache for the best result.


Cluster headache sufferers often have a lower than average level of melatonin.

Using melatonin for 2 weeks before going to sleep can significantly reduce headache severity and frequency.


Oral magnesium hasn’t been studied but may be effective in reversing the magnesium deficiency seen in cluster headache sufferers.


Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

Kudzu contains antioxidants, has anaesthetic effects, dilates blood vessels in the brain, increases blood flow to the brain and can improve brain acetylcholine production.

Case studies have shown a decrease in frequency and intensity of cluster headaches in a high percentage, close to 70%.

For more information on treatments, please read Alternative Treatments For Chronic Headaches.