Paroxysmal Hemicrania

Most people get bad headaches from time to time. But if you get really painful headaches on one side of your head or face that don’t last long and happen several times a day, you may have a rare headache called paroxysmal hemicrania. If you get them every day or almost every day, you have chronic paroxysmal hemicrania. This is also called Sjaastad syndrome. If you only take it sometimes, you may have episodic paroxysmal hemicrania. Here’s what you need to know.

Symptoms of Paroxysmal Hemicrania

Paroxysmal hemicrania headaches feel like throbbing, claw-like and/or stabbing headaches on one side of your face. They can last from just a few minutes to up to 30 minutes. Most people say that their pain is a 10 on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most painful. When you have this type of headache, you are usually unable to do your normal activities.

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain behind one eye (you may also feel pain in other parts of your face, head and/or neck)
  • Red and predatory eyes
  • A droopy or swollen eye on the side of your face where you feel pain
  • Facial flushing
  • Nasal or sinus congestion or pain
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Nausea or vomiting

Paroxysmal hemicrania and migraine headaches can be very painful. However, migraines last longer. Causes that can trigger paroxysmal hemicrania:

  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Temperature changes
  • Stress or relaxation after stress
  • Exercise
  • Putting pressure on your neck or moving your head in a certain way.