1. People who suffer from cluster headaches describe them as worse than childbirth without anesthetics, worse than gunshot wounds, head injuries, or a burned hand. "They'll find the worst thing they can think of and tell you it's worse," said neurologist Dr. Peter Goadsby, director of UCSF's Headache Center. "It always causes me to stop and draw a breath."
Part of the affliction of cluster headaches is that few people know what they are.
"People will say, Why don't you take a Tylenol?" Goadsby said.
While migraines affect about 15 percent of the population, cluster headaches only afflict 0.1 percent of the U.S. population. Still, that's about the same rate as the better known multiple sclerosis, Goadsby said.
Treatments include 100 percent oxygen treatments, injections, nasal sprays and preventive drug treatment. But the current National Institutes of Health research funding for the condition is zero.
"I personally just don't get it," Goadsby said.