On Friday night at my sister’s place, we were were swapping war stories of head pains. She had a read of the Wikipedia article on cluster headaches and, noting the description, the illustration by J.D.Fletcher, and nickname “suicide headache”, she had to admit they piss all over her puny migraines.
“Cluster headache is probably the worst pain that humans experience. I know that’s quite a strong remark to make, but if you ask a cluster headache patient if they’ve had a worse experience, they’ll universally say they haven’t. Women with cluster headache will tell you that an attack is worse than giving birth. So you can imagine that these people give birth without anesthetic once or twice a day, for six, eight, or ten weeks at a time, and then have a break. It’s just awful.”
My cluster headaches are back for autumn — only mildly, I must emphasise. It took until the third day to realise that the headache I had wasn’t going away with Aspirin or Paracetamol. Sure enough popping one of the previously medicated pills and slurping down lots of caffeine in strongly brewed tea and Coke in the afternoon and evening helped sooth the pain. That was Thursday. The catch was I found myself wide-awake at 2am on Friday morning…
While I’ve had some pretty bad ones in the past (particularly before they were properly diagnosed and the medication prescribed), they’re nowhere near as bad as they once were, and nowhere near as bad as some others have them. I’m just glad I know the medication (Veracaps) that helps me.
And I have nothing but sympathy for those who manage with them, without help.
PS. Forgot the worst bit about re-reading the article on cluster headaches: Ingestion of alcohol or chocolate is recognized as a common trigger of cluster headaches when a person is in cycle or susceptible. I don’t really care about alcohol, but chocolate — oh no!