Time Change Causes Major Headaches for Some
While it can be a welcome change for many, it causes some serious headaches for others. Literally.
Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic say that the time change can trigger what are called cluster headaches.
They say the headaches typically start a couple days after the time change and can last anywhere from six weeks to three months.
In many cases, the pain is debilitating. “These attacks, which occur every day, occur for 6-8 weeks and then go away in a cluster cycle,” says Dr. Stewart Tepper at the Cleveland Clinic, “and it looks like you can actually trigger a cycle by switching the time with daylight savings time.”
The cluster headaches are seen more commonly in men than in women. Experts believe they are caused by circadian rhythms in the brain.
“The portion of the brain that is also the generator for cluster is also the portion of the brain that manages rhythms through the day,” Dr. Tepper says, “and through the year, the circadian rhythms and the circannual rhythms in the hypothalamus.”
There are a variety of medications that can treat these headaches. Some specialists use melatonin to reduce the pain or even prevent the onset.
Oxygen can also help to reduce the frequency of the headaches. Some patients are given an oxygen tank and mask as treatment.
Dr. Tepper adds that even changing time zones can trigger these headaches.
If you think you’re experiencing them, you should talk to your doctor.