Treatment for Cluster Headaches

Recently, we had a patient (we will call him Keith) present with multiple unrelenting headaches after a traumatic head injury from a motorcycle accident. After a series of CT and MRI scans of his head and neck, he was diagnosed with cluster headaches. Keith was given a series of medications for pain and they said he will just have to deal with this for the rest of his life. Keith decided to try chiropractic treatment so he called his Mission Viejo chiropractor, Dr. Allen for an appointment. After our exam, we determined he indeed has cluster headaches as well as significant alignment problems in his upper cervical spine which can influence this type of headache.

Cluster headaches (CHA) are part of a disorder known as trigeminal autonomic cephalgias which is characterized by cranial parasympathetic activation and sympathetic nervous system impairment. Typical symptoms include:

  • Severe, one sided, orbital, supraorbital or temporal pain that peaks in 10-15 min and lasts 15-180 min.
  • They tend to occur mostly at night.
  • Cycles occur over a few weeks or months, sometimes lasting years! Which is why some people with cluster headaches sadly, have even been known to take their own life.
  • Frequency is typically one to eight per year and macrocycles are usually months to years apart.

Cluster headaches are usually associated with one of the following:

  • Conjunctival infection, redness of the eyes
  • Runny nose, runny eyes, nasal congestion
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Forehead and facial sweating, or
  • Eyelid swelling.

Typical medical treatment would be indomethacin but they do not tend to respond to other NSAIDs (which is also a diagnostic criterion). It had been over a year since Keith had been dealing with this nasty condition, but after only two weeks of treatment with chiropractic adjustments to correct his spine and reduce the pressure on the sympathetic afferent and efferent signals looping back up to his brain, he is glad to say that his symptoms are gone, he was able to get off the daily dose of pain medicine, and is now medication free, and his cluster headaches have not returned. We are happy to be able to provide solutions for headaches, neck, and back pain with chiropractic care.

If you know someone you care about dealing with headaches, please contact Allen Chiropractic in Mission Viejo, CA at 949-544-0333 to get set up with an appointment to see what chiropractic can do for them!


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