Dr. Paul Christo, a pain specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital and host of the syndicated radio talk show Aches and Gains, calls this “probably the worse pain imaginable. I’ve had patients say it’s worse than labor pain or burns.”
This kind of headache is focused on one side of the head, usually around the eyes, and can last up to 3 hours or more. And while headaches are equal opportunity oppressors, Dr. Christo says that cluster headaches tend to “affect men more than women.”
Also known as Fothergill’s disease, this is a neuropathic disorder caused by inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, “which is located in the head, and from the eye down to the jaw,” says Dr. Darnall.
She calls it “a very exquisite type of pain. That kind of pain where you feel like a knife stabbing in.” And unlike labor pain, how much you endure isn’t up to you. “Treatment options are limited,” says Dr. Darnall. “There is no epidural coming. There are people who have suicidal ideation or who do commit suicide because of it.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
“A fascinating pain condition that occurs typically following an injury, and it could begin after surgery,” says Dr. Darnall. “Instead of healing, the pain suddenly blossoms out of control.”
The hallmark symptom, she says, is “sharp, debilitating pain. It can be so severe for some people, they can come into a doctor’s office and ask to just amputate their arm.” Which, believe it or not, is occasionally the best option for treatment.