While cluster headaches don’t sound much worse than a typical headache, they can be incredibly severe and debilitating. They are characterized by short but incredibly painful headaches that typically begin behind or around one eye. The pain may travel to the forehead, temple, nose, cheek, or mouth on that same side, and the pain is generally burning, piercing, and throbbing. Cluster headaches last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours, and they usually occur between one and three times each day, generally around the same time each day.

Cluster headaches come about randomly and people usually have them every day for an extended period of time, followed by a period of no headaches. While some triggers may be associated with an individual’s onset of cluster headaches, the only known cause of these headaches is a problem with a nerve that travels through the base of the brain and into the face. This nerve, called the trigeminal nerve, is responsible for various sensations in the face, including pain.

Cluster Headache Relief

Since cluster headaches come and go so quickly and randomly, there isn’t much that medical doctors can do to help people find relief from them. The typical treatment options for cluster headaches include corticosteroids, migraine medications, injections of numbing agents, bipolar medications, seizure prevention medications, local anesthetics, and more. While some of these may prove to be effective in eliminating the pain of a cluster headache temporarily, they all come with a large number of possible risks and side effects. And unfortunately, they don’t treat the root cause of the cluster headaches, meaning that they will not bring long-term or permanent relief.

Thankfully, Charlotte chiropractor Dr. Grant Lisetor is an expert on the central nervous system, which includes all the nerves throughout your body, including the trigeminal nerve, and he has experience bringing relief to those suffering from headaches of all kinds.

Since cluster headaches are rooted in a problem with a nerve that passes through your spine, a chiropractor is the best line of defense in fighting cluster headaches. In people experiencing cluster headaches, the trigeminal nerve is often pinched, compressed, or shifted improperly due to a spinal misalignment. With a gentle, specific chiropractic adjustment, the vertebra that is interfering with the trigeminal nerve will be moved into proper alignment and positioning, allowing neurons to effectively pass through the nerve in question and reinstating proper communication throughout the entire body.

Though there haven’t been any large case studies about the chiropractic treating cluster headaches, individual testimonials are plentiful. Additionally, headaches of all kinds are typically rooted in a spinal subluxation (or misalignment) in the upper cervical spine, which chiropractors are experts at correcting.

If you or someone you love is suffering from cluster headaches, trust that relief is possible—not only relief, but drug-free, natural, safe, and effective relief! Charlotte chiropractor Dr. Grant Listeor of Greater Life Chiropractic would love to speak with you about your experience with cluster headaches and how he can help decrease your pain and improve your life. Contact him and his team today and set up a consultation!



Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Ruegg, R., Shaw, L., Watkin, R., White, E. “Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults with Headache.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies, 2011 Jun; 34(5): 274-289. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21640251.

Chaibi, A., Russell, M.B. “Manual Therapies for Primary Chronic Headaches: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” The Journal of Headache and Pain, 2014; 15(1): 67. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4194455/.