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Causes of one sided headache?
If you have ever had a headache on one side of your head or eyes, you know that it happens when you least expect it and it is painful. People that experience these one sided or cluster headaches have a myriad of symptoms. But what are the causes of a one sided headache?
Identifying the differences between a cluster headache and other types of headaches, such as migraines, as the first key. Migraine headaches can be identified as extreme headache symptoms, which can completely debilitate the patient. Some cluster headaches have a pain level that is comparable to migraines, but with different symptoms. The medical community have identified that cluster headaches seem more prevalent in men than women, and are the most common in two ages: adolescence and middle age. There is no exact medical diagnosis for the causes of a one sided headache, but they seem to be related to a sudden release of histamine or serotonin in the brain. Histamine regulates the sinus areas and serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells. They can occur every day for months or just once a year. In extreme cases, some patients have chronic cluster headaches that happen around the same time, every day, without stopping.
Patients that experience one side headaches often report that it can begin suddenly and the pain is severe. It can happen during the day or when sleeping at night. Descriptions of the type of pain have included a burning sensation, steady pain that seems to regulate to a peak within five to ten minutes. The pain may be behind one eye only or may focus from the neck all the way to the temple of one side of the face. Other symptoms can include: flushing of the face and neck, eyes exhibiting redness, swelling of one or both eyes, runny nose or excessive sinus activity on the affected side.
Lifestyle and environment are two factors that can trigger cluster headaches. Combinations or alone, some of the factors could include: exertion, especially in higher altitudes; excessive heat (i.e.: hot summer weather or overheated bathing); foods that contain a high nitrate content, tobacco or alcohol use; some medications, especially blood pressure medicines.
Health care providers know that there is no permanent treatment for cluster headaches. However if an examination is accomplished during an attack, one can eliminate a rare condition that affects the eyes and face called Horner syndrome. Another method to eliminate any other neurological disorders would be to have an MRI. The causes of one sided headache can involve so many variables, that typically the goal is to simply eliminate the pain by adjusting as many of the lifestyle variables as possible with a follow up of various medications. Medications can cover a variety of types, from Triptans to steroids as well as breathing pure oxygen during the attack.
For those that have the highest level of chronic cluster headaches, where all other treatments have failed, there are some surgical alternatives. These are high risk situations and involve long term examinations with specialty physicians.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Headache9 Apr 2010|