Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are a different kind of chronic head pain. They’re not migraines, and they don’t have any of the same symptoms you’d expect from a regular headache.

On average, cluster headaches occur every other day for two weeks and then disappear for one to four months before returning again. The pain is so severe that it’s described as being similar to getting stabbed in the eye with a knife—and it’s not uncommon for people to pass out from it. It can be so intense that some people with cluster headaches don’t even realize they’re having them until they see their friends’ reactions when they start to describe their symptoms.

Cluster headaches often start with an excruciating sharp pain on one side of the head, but they can also radiate across both sides or into other areas of your face or neck as well as your eyes and nose. They usually affect one side of the face, but sometimes both sides are affected at once or in sequence throughout the duration of an attack—which can last anywhere from 30 seconds up to three hours (though most last between 90 seconds and 10 minutes).