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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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Hiya CB...welcome...glad ya found us...and glad you found something that works for you.

...if you're interested in anecdotal evidence from a buncha clusterheads like yourself... check out our sister site below. type in: "capsaicin" or "hot sauce" or "cayenne pepper" or similar in the search function....then follow the threads. be prepared for an entertaining, colorful and lengthy read...no membership required tho it would be a good idea....there's decades of shared experience available. The saying there goes "take what ya need and leave the rest"....next to "shit happens" that's my favorite admonition….

….you may even find a post or two by me on this subject...short version: snorted powdered cayenne powder for a while...and it sorta worked for a while... then it didn't...but that's me. also tried lidocaine in the nose ona cotton swab...damned tough to "hit the spot" during a hit...and one of the FEW times I ever found CH funny as I pictured myself in tears while doing yoga poses trying to get the "right angle". never could get it to work but I still got TWO 13 yr old bottles of lidocaine sol...just in case...B)




Edited by jon019
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