I mean it. I’m tired of cluster migraine. I’ve had enough. It needs to go.
I know, some people think they have a use for it. They don’t think there’s any easy alternative.
But frankly, I think it’s causing more problems than it’s solving. It’s had its day, and it’s time for it to be ditched, deleted, and drowned.
Some of you already know where I’m going with this. I’m not talking about head pain here. I’m not talking about diseases or symptoms. I’m talking about words and phrases.
Yes, the term "cluster migraine" has to go.
What does it mean, anyway?
Well, that’s the question. Recently I was reading some articles and came across an absolutely horrendous one entitled A Cluster Migraine – Not the One You Like to Meet With (to read the painful article, click here). The author starts by describing symptoms – symptoms of cluster, not migraine. Next, they described more symptoms – not of cluster, but of migraine. The "treatments" had nothing to do with cluster at all (ie retire to a quiet room, dim the lights and get some rest! I’d like to see someone with cluster headache enjoy that peaceful scene, but I doubt it’s going to happen…).
Unfortunately, this absolute confusion between cluster and various types of migraine is all too common. Usually people are talking about one or the other, but with this phrase cluster migriane (or worse cluster migrane) flying around, you never know what people are talking about.
“But… I’m using it properly!”
Ok, there are some (debatable) ways to use the term that aren’t quite as confusing. First, the term is used for patients with cluster and migraine. But is that really useful? Can’t you just say they have both? After all, you don’t hear about people who have a "migraine ear infection" or "worms n’ cluster" (almost sounds like a desert at a children’s party…).
Now, I understand that sometimes – sometimes – the distinction isn’t so clear. You have someone with attacks that come in a series like cluster, but the symptoms look more like migraine. That’s the only useful spot I can think of where you could put the term cluster migraine.
However, with all the confusion, I think the term is not even useful here.
Seriously, I did a search recently for pages using this term. Out of the top 10 pages I visited, only one use the term in a "proper" way. All the rest showed confusion over the term.
So I say it’s time to throw it out completely. Stop using it. Clarify.
It will help people find treatment faster, instead of spending all this time in a maze trying to figure out what they have and what it’s called.
It’s time for the execution. It’s time to get rid of cluster migraine. Once and for all.
(For more ranting, see this Treatment Cluster Migraine article)