I have been struggling for the last 3 days with a vicious cluster headache. If you’ve never had one of these gems, count yourself lucky. I’ve been getting them for many years. In the beginning I thought they were sinus headaches on steroids because they feel a bit like sinus pressure behind the eye and make my ears, nasal passages and even teeth hurt. But they do not respond to any antihistamine or even ibuprofen the way an allergy related sinus headache would. Then, for a long time, I just assumed they were migraine headaches. When I went to an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor about the loss of hearing in my left ear, I mentioned it to him and he told me they were probably cluster headaches.
Interesting to note that these and the menieres (intermittent hearing loss) are both on my left side where I had a case of the shingles about ten years ago. It is quite possible that the shingles damaged the nerves on the upper left quad of my head. It was a pretty mild case and only appeared between my eye and my hairline and up at the top of my forehead, where it left a scar.
I really should track them to see if there is any dietary or seasonal rhyme to them, but I am usually so consumed by the pain and then relieved by its disappearance, that I put it out of my thinking right away. I get about 4 to 6 attacks a year.
It feels like a kebab skewer is lodged into my left eye and piercing my brain. The pain usually starts in the evening and wakes me up in the middle of the night. When I wake in the morning, there are remnants of the pain, like a fog and then it goes away for most of the day, only to reappear in the evening when it gathers like a storm and peaks either right before bedtime or in the middle of the night. Sometimes they are present for 24 hours, sometimes 72, this one is especially tenacious.
Nothing really eases the pain except sleep and the only way to fall asleep is to put pressure on the eye, like pushing the palm of your hand into the eye socket. Miserable. During the day, when the pain is minimal, my left eye tears and droops, which is oh so lovely. And of course, the lack of sleep makes me worry about a fibro flare…I am taking a sick day today, lots of rest and fluids.
Do you get cluster headaches? Does anything help you? Have you found your triggers?