What Are Cluster and Migraine Headaches?


Quick Answer

A migraine is a debilitating headache that usually begins with a throbbing pain on one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, explains WebMD. Cluster headaches occur in bunches over one or several days with severe, piercing pain that is usually located around one eye.

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Some individuals experience a migraine warning sign, called an aura, just before an attack, according to WebMD. Visual disturbances, such as flickering points of light, blind spots or zigzag lines, are common auras. Sometimes, numbness in a limb or the smell of a strange odor acts as a warning sign. A migraine can last from a few hours to many days and can cause oversensitivity to light, odors and sound.

Cluster headaches typically begin several hours after a person falls asleep, states WebMD. A mild, aching sensation on one side of the head can warn that a cluster headache is coming. Nasal congestion and a flushed face usually accompany the pain. A cluster headache lasts from 30 minutes to two hours, diminishes or disappears, and recurs a day or two later. Four or more cluster attacks may occur in one day, and cluster attacks can strike every day for weeks or months before going into remission. Cluster headaches are more common in men.

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