Chronic and recurrent headaches are a complex problem. This is an understatement when it comes to Cluster Headache. This is by far the most severe form of headache and many experts believe it to be the most severe condition humans experience. This prompted eminent Professor and World expert on headache management Peter Goadsby to comment:
"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 anaesthetic once or twice a day, for six, eight, or ten weeks at a time, and then have a break. It's just awful."
We know from the research that there are multiple areas of the brain active during cluster headache attacks. Most notably the hypothalamic grey matter (housing our internal body clock), which in all likelihood explains why there is such a strong timing component with cluster headache. Like the other major headache types (migraine, tension headache and cervicogenic headache), cluster headache is characterised by a hyper-reflexive trigeminal nucleus.
It stands to reason, as one of the two major inputs into the trigeminal nucleus, that the upper cervical spine may be responsible for the overstimulation, and hence, hyper-reflexivity.
Assessment looks for three key signs that the neck is involved:
There is a mechanical fault creating pressure on the upper three cervical segments, charactersied by a muscle spasm under the base of the skull.
This mechanical fault is reversible
The stress this mechanical fault creates is capable of referring the typical pain (area and quality, not intensity) of cluster headache.
If we find these three attributes then your neck is contributing to the problem, and that contribution can be successfully managed.