Doc's Cluster Headache Journal

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interesting tid-bit from the NYU science line site about "icecream headaches"

Poking around this morning I found this article:
Why do I get ice-cream headaches?

In this bit of text that tries to explain the phenomena of "brain freeze" they mention clusters.

"Interestingly, migraine and cluster headaches seem to be caused by a similar, albeit probably differently triggered, activation of the trigeminal nerve that may cause pain in other regions of the head. This means that for those of us who have never experienced the searing pain of migraines or cluster headaches, an ice-cream headache may be as close as we get."

I love the part about the doctor that requires medical students to induce ice-cream headaches as part of his curriculum.

"“I think that all physicians and physicians-in-training would benefit and should be made to experience the exquisite pain of ice-cream headache to help them understand, empathize and appreciate the urgency for sufficient prophylaxis and treatment of the pain of their cluster headache patients,” wrote Dr. Eric Lewin Altschuler"

Well played sir, I salute you!

I found the comparison of "ice cream" headaches and clusters to be a useful tool in explaining to people what is going on with me. I will sometimes say something like "Imagine a brain freeze headache..." People will usually respond with something along the lines of "OH Wow! I hate those!" Then I will say "now imagine that 2-8 times more powerful, lasting 45min to almost 2 hours and imagine getting one every night at 3am for 2-5 months... People start to understand a bit better.

We should be careful not to trivialize the intense suffering some migraine and cluster victims go through, but as I recall Ice cream headaches were some of the most intense headache pain I had felt before I started getting clusters, so using them as a point of reference like Dr. Altschuler seems to me like a very good idea.

So for any people reading this who don't have serious headaches... Just feel lucky the next time you get a brain freeze that they only last for a very short while... then go hug a migraine or cluster sufferer. :)


  • ******HUG*****

    By Blogger Katy, at 2/06/2008 5:28 PM  

  • Did you do your video Katy? I know it's 2012, but as a cluster headache I'd love to see what you've done!

    By Anonymous Cindy Reynolds, at 2/29/2012 10:20 AM  

  • Cindy,

    Not to speak for Katy... I think the intention for her to do a film was always there, but she is a very caring person and I think it is difficult for her to see me in such distress, let alone film it. Over the years I have found more ways to keep the curse to myself. Mind you, she is strong and can handle it... but I think we sort of need one person in the relationship who while aware of whats going on, is somewhat less burdened by it.

    I may make a film someday (we are both award winning film makers! *heh* (actually true)) but I don't know if I would necessarily ask Katy to be involved.

    If she still wants to do her film, I will support her and help, but honestly, I think it might be hard.

    By Blogger Murdock Scott, at 2/29/2012 3:16 PM  

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