Cluster headache agony 'can last years before correct diagnosis'

GPs are urged to confer with neurologists when in doubt

Patients with cluster headache are experiencing ‘excruciating’ pain for up to eight years before being diagnosed, neurologists say.  

Woman with headache

Treatment is often suboptimal because of misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis, they add, but there are clues a GP can look out for.

The neurologists, from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, say cluster headache — sometimes dubbed ‘the suicide headache’ because of the extreme pain — accounts for 20% of headaches that always occur on the side of the head