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Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are recurring attacks of excruciating pain on one side of the head, often behind an eye. The pain may extend to the forehead, nose, cheek, upper jaw or back of the head on the same side. The attacks often happen multiple times per day, with each attack lasting less than three hours, even without treatment. Most often, the attacks occur every day for several weeks or months and then subside for a period, though for some people the attacks can continue for months or even years.

Men have cluster headaches three to four times more often than women. Generally, this condition does not run in families.

Our Approach to Cluster Headaches

Our headache specialists – neurologists who focus on treating headaches –provide comprehensive assessments and care. Treatments include medications that interrupt cluster headache cycles and halt individual cluster headache attacks. We see patients from around the world who have difficult-to-treat headache disorders, and are committed to delivering effective care with the utmost compassion and respect. When needed, our specialists work closely with other experts at UCSF, such as alternative medicine providers, to better manage cluster headaches.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.