Mayo Clinic Minute: It's the season to be concerned about cluster headaches -- Greater Milwaukee Today |

Cluster headaches aren’t very frequent, but they are extremely painful. They are most common in the fall time of year.

Cluster headaches are a rare type of headache which is different from a typical headache or migraine. A mere one percent of the population suffer from cluster headaches However, for those who do it can be a very intense experience due to the fact that the headaches are intense and can be severe.

Imagine being woken quickly by intense head pain that gets to its peak in a matter of minutes.

“Then (there will be) 15-20 minutes of pain which can be so intense that people are often unable to sit for long periods of time. They must get up, walk around, perhaps put their head on the table or bang objects against the head. Then it turns off like a light switch” Dr. Carrie Robertson, a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

That is what the Dr. Robertson is describing is the symptoms of a cluster headache.

“For patients struggling with this for 6 or 12 weeks, they could suffer from several headaches each day — up to 8 headaches each day. Then, after the cycle began the cycle will end and shut off. They could be pain-free for months or even a full year until the next cycle begins,” Robertson. Robertson.

Sometimes the cluster headache can be experienced without the need for a trigger. But, a cluster headache is usually seasonal.

“The autumn is one of the seasons when we tend to observe patients with their cycles beginning,” she says.

There is no cure for cluster headaches however, there are treatments available to reduce the intensity of pain, reduce the time between headaches, and even prevent attacks.

“We’ve achieved a lot of improvements in the last 10 years, however we’re still looking at additional treatments on a continuous base,” says Dr. Robertson.