Headaches come in several different forms. By far the most common headaches are tension headaches, associated with muscle tension. Less common and more severe are migraine headaches, which can be so painful they can render patients unable to function. The most severe, however, are cluster headaches. These affect around 0.1% of the population and are significantly more common in men than women.
Some women who have experienced both childbirth and cluster headaches report that the headaches are more painful. Unlike childbirth, people who suffer from chronic cluster headaches may experience them several times a week, or even daily. They frequently strike at regular intervals, to the point that patients can predict when one is likely to occur. This allows some patients to take steps to prevent the onset of a headache.
The pain of a cluster headache does not respond to many of the treatments commonly given for headaches once it begins. Before the pain starts, however, there are a number of therapies that can be used to prevent their onset. Some triptan drugs are able to prevent the pain before it starts in almost all cases. Some patients also find that rapidly inhaling pure oxygen during the onset of a headache can help.
The Social Security Administration offers supplemental income for people with chronic, debilitating illnesses. If you suffer from cluster headaches, and they make it very difficult or impossible for you to do your job, you may be eligible for financial assistance.