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  1. ClusterBusted

    Capsaicin Method - Preventative

    Hi all, episodic cluster sufferer here. I have had cluster headaches on the left-side of my head for about 9 years now. I have tried everything from triptan medication to prescription medical oxygen. The only thing that has really worked to abort the attacks is the oxygen, and that is only convenient when it is available and works completely. Recently, I have been doing a bit of research and experimentation regarding the trigeminal nerve and intranasal application of capsaicin (hot pepper extract). I have had great success with this, and my cluster headaches have been less frequent, as well as the pain of attacks has been reduced greatly. For a high level overview of why/how this works, please reference this video. Also, here and here are published studies. Method: The method that I use to accomplish this is relatively simple - Instead of using pure capsaicin extract, I use really hot peppers and a Q-tip. Lately, I have been using bird's eye chilies, but really any hot pepper hotter than a jalapeno should work. I take a sharp knife and slice the pepper down the middle. From there, I spread it open and roll the Q-tip around inside of the pepper, while pinching the pepper around the Q-tip to get the most liquid that I can. After that (make sure there is no debris on the Q-tip, first), I place the Q-tip directly inside of my nostril on the side that I experience headaches on (for me, it is my left side) and rub it around directly on the mucous membrane inside my nostril. Immediately, you can feel the burn. Here's the thing - the first time I did this, it hurt like holy heck. The second time, it hurt, but not as bad as the first time - this pain continued to subside with daily application, and I currently barely feel anything when it is applied to the inside of my nostril. It is best to place the Q-tip directly inside your nose and apply, then when your nose starts running, inhale through your nose to get it a bit further up there. If you are doing it correctly, your eye will automatically begin to water (just like during a cluster) and you possibly may begin sneezing. I have done this twice a day for the past month, and my headaches have decreased greatly in both pain and frequency. I believe there is something to it, and suggest that others give it a try. I should definitely be amid a cluster period right now, but have been for the most part headache free. I understand that it sounds a bit bizarre, but I was willing to try anything to get my headaches under control. This seems to be working for me, and I couldn't be happier. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks!
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