Cluster Headache vs. Tension Headache

Tension headaches account for nearly 90% of all headaches and are probably experiences by most people at some time during their lifetime; frequently associated with fatigue and stress and generally responding to simple measures such as rest or over-the-counter pain medicine; pain usually occurs on both sides of head and consists of a dull, steady ache.

Cluster headaches are rare, extremely painful and debilitating headaches that occur in groups or clusters. They often appear during seasonal changes. They are also described as suicide headaches, a reference to the excruciating pain and resulting desperation that has sometimes culminated in actual suicide.

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Cluster Headache

Tension Headache

Characteristics of pain Stabbing Dull and pressure-like pain in the head. It may also produce a feeling of pressure similar to the sensation caused by the placement of a vice or a tight band on the head and/or around the neck.
Gender predominance More common in males More common in females
Sensitivity to light or sound Rare Rare
Runny nose and red, watery eye Present Absent
Location of pain Pain located near the eye on affected side. Usually unilateral. The pain is typically generalized, with areas of more intense pain in the scalp, forehead, temples or the back of the neck. Usually bilateral.
Severity of pain Very severe Mild to moderate in severity
Time of onset Short; headaches peak within 45 minutes Pain develops gradually, fluctuates in severity and then can remain for several days
Triggers Nitroglycerin (glyceryl trinitrate), hydrocarbons (petroleum solvents, perfume), Alcohol, napping, etc. Stress
Prodromal aura before headache Absent Absent
Nausea or vomiting Rare Rare

Contents: Cluster Headache vs Tension Headache

edit Signs and Symptoms :

edit Tension-type headache

edit Cluster Headaches

edit Prevalence

While tension headaches are diagnosed more often in women, cluster headaches are diagnosed more often in men. The male-to-female ratio in cluster headache ranges from 4:1 to 7:1. It primarily occurs between the ages of 20 to 50 years.

edit Triggers:

edit Tension Headaches

edit Cluster Headaches

edit Diagnosis:

edit Tension headaches

edit By clinical signs and symptoms

edit Lab Studies:

edit Cluster headache:

edit Neurologic examination.

A neurologic examination may help your doctor detect physical signs of a cluster headache. Sometimes the pupil of your eye may appear smaller or your eyelid may droop, even between attacks.

edit Imaging tests.

If you have unusual or complicated headaches or an abnormal neurologic exam, you may undergo other diagnostic testing to rule out other serious causes of head pain, such as a tumor or aneurysm. Two common brain-imaging tests are computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. A CT scan uses a series of computer-directed X-rays to provide a comprehensive view of your brain. An MRI doesn't use X-rays. Instead, it combines magnetism, radio waves and computer technology to produce clear images of your brain.

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