Geoff's Story of Cluster Headache Recovery: Geoff was a young man who suffered what one doctor diagnosed as “cluster headaches,” for a long time but then, one day, they just suddenly stopped. Cluster headaches have been known to afflict people for years and then stop for many years, even decades. Geoff’s doctor told him of one case in which the patient actually went 25 years between cluster headache attacks. Typically, however, the time between attacks is a year or two.
Geoff’s headaches usually came on in the middle of the night. He was afraid to go to sleep because he knew he’d be awakened by pain around 2 a.m. Nighttime onset is quite common in cluster headache sufferers because one of the triggers of these types of headaches is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which occurs 2-3 hours after falling asleep.
Geoff’s wife also dreaded nighttime because she could not help him, so she felt totally helpless. He groaned in pain so loudly that he would go into his basement so as not to wake up his children. His pain was overwhelming.
Cluster headaches are very difficult to treat as they do not respond to medication as migraines often do. While cluster headaches are also thought to be vascular (as are migraines) they seem to be completely different in origin. Patients who experience cluster headaches have tender spots in their carotid arteries, and spasms in these neck arteries may be one cause of the pain.
Geoff found some relief by taking ergotamine. He also obtained an oxygen machine because breathing in 100% oxygen for a few minutes can stop a cluster headache from coming on.
For the last few years, Geoff’s doctor has prescribed a drug called sumatriptan which is supposed to stop a cluster headache within five minutes. Geoff also takes Verapamil, usually diagnosed for heart problems.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks are an extremely effective method of preventing Migraines, Cluster Headaches and other types of Autonomic Cephalgias. The following videos are from patients who utilize the simple SPG block to improve their lives and eliminate pain.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks also reduce anxiety and can help with depression. The following video is a patient and her boufriend talking while they are receiving the SPG Blocks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq07UVny9PE
Here at North Shore Sleep Dentistry, we always recommend getting a second opinion from a specially-trained dentist when it comes to headaches and migraine treatment. Contact Fellowship-trained and Diplomate Dr. Ira L. Shapira to schedule a consultation by filling out a confidential contact form or calling (847) 533-8313.