Horton’s headache


Horton’s headache comes in attacks and it then works a lot around one eye. Most often you get the attacks for a few weeks each year, for example, spring or autumn. Some get hurt for longer periods, sometimes longer than a year. During a period of pain, it is common for an attack to be triggered by stress or small amounts of alcohol.

Horton’s headache usually starts when you are between 20 and 40 years of age and usually goes into your 65’s. Horton’s headache is not harmful, although it can be very intense and unpleasant. The cause of the disease is not known.

Symptoms of Horton’s headache

Here are some typical symptoms of Horton’s headache:

  • An intense and sometimes pulsating one-sided headache around one eye. Often it feels as if the eye is being squeezed out.
  • Headaches that come suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. 
  • The intense headaches get worse if you lie down. It is also common for you to feel restless and restless because of the headaches.
  • The pain usually lasts half an hour. But it can vary between fifteen minutes and three hours. The headache attacks are usually shorter in women.

It is common for headache attacks that come in periods lasting an average of six weeks. The periods can vary from one week to one year. They usually occur once or twice a year. During the periods, the headaches of the same time usually come from once every other day to eight times a day. Often you can wake up at the same time on nights of headache attacks.

For a period of time, you get the headaches in the same place. The usual thing is that the pattern is repeated in the next period. In exceptional cases, the pains appear to change sides.

In individual individuals with Horton’s headache, the pain may instead sit on one half of the head in any of the following places: the upper neck, cheek, nose, upper jaw, lower jaw or throat.

Other symptoms of Horton’s headache

In addition to headaches, you may also experience one or more of the following symptoms of Horton’s headache from the nose and eye on the side where the pain is located:

  • Your eye or nose is draining.
  • You get the nasal congestion.
  • You get Horner’s syndrome which involves the swelling, drooping eyelids and the pupil becoming smaller.
  • Your eyelids blush.
  • You sweat on your forehead and face.

Women who have Horton’s headaches may feel sick and vomit during the attacks, which men very rarely do. 

Two types of Horton’s headache

Most people who have Horton’s headaches are completely trouble-free for shorter or longer periods. Many people get sick for a period during the same time of year, for example, a few weeks in the spring or autumn. A few people have chronic Horton headaches. This means that you have problems every day for a year or more, or that the periods when you have no problems are shorter than two weeks.

When and where should I seek care?

Contact a health care provider if you think you have symptoms suggestive of Horton’s headache. You can contact many receptions by logging in.

Treatment for Horton’s headache

During periods of attacks, it is good not to drink alcohol as it often triggers headaches. Try to have regular sleep habits, it can make trouble less. For example, a nap in the afternoon can trigger an attack.

You can try raising the head end of the bed about 20 inches if you get attacks at night. This can relieve the hassle.

To find out other causes that trigger the headaches, it is good to keep a so-called headache diary. In it you write down when the headaches come and what you ate, drank and done before the pain started.

Treatment of attacks

An attack of Horton’s headache can sometimes break if you dip your forearms in icy water. You can test if it works for you.

To treat attacks of Horton’s headache, there are also various prescription drugs that can help.

Drugs belonging to the group of triptans usually help, especially in the form of syringes or nasal sprays. A syringe with sumatriptan usually relieves the pain within a quarter. The drug pulls the blood vessels together in the head. Nasal sprays belonging to the group of triptans and containing sumatriptan or zolmitriptan may help. Ordinary tablets or suppositories in the group of triptans usually have too slow effects.

Oxygen treatment through a face mask often results in the attack being interrupted within ten to fifteen minutes. You can access an oxygen stove to have at home if oxygen treatment has proven to work well.

Prevention of drugs

There are prescription drugs that can prevent attacks. Medicines containing verapamil have a good preventative effect and are used if you have more than two attacks per day. 

You can also try short cures with cortisone if you have severe problems. It usually helps in more than half of the cases.

Treatment for severe chronic Horton headache

Lithium can help if you have severe chronic Horton headaches. You will then need to periodically submit blood tests so that your doctor can monitor the concentration of the substance in your blood. In some cases, you may also be able to try the drug methysergide.

In many cases, the most effective treatment is to combine two different preventive drugs. Your doctor may prescribe that you slowly reduce the drug doses when you have had one to two weeks without any hassle. This also applies if you feel that the attack period is over. 

Right to information

The healthcare staff should tell you what treatment options are available. They should make sure you understand what the different options mean, what side effects are available and where you can get treatment. This way you can help decide which treatment is right for you.

What is it?

It is not clear why you get Horton’s headache. The blood vessels dilate and you get a severe swelling that hurts. It seems to have to do with the functions of the body that regulate the circadian rhythm.

Stress and drugs can cause an attack

Stress can trigger an attack, as do some drugs that enlarge blood vessels, such as nitrates. Even small amounts of alcohol can trigger an attack.

Many people who get Horton’s headaches are smokers and some get less trouble when they stop smoking.

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