Types of Cluster Headaches

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Topic Overview

There are 2 types of cluster headaches:

  • Episodic cluster headaches are the most common type of cluster headaches. People with episodic cluster headaches have cluster periods of 1 to 3 months when they are prone to having headaches. The cluster periods are followed by headache-free periods (remissions) of 6 months or more. About 90 out of 100 people who have cluster headaches have episodic cluster headaches.footnote 1
  • Chronic cluster headaches are those that occur during a period of at least 12 months without a headache-free period (remission) or when remissions last less than one month.footnote 2 About 10 out of 100 people who have cluster headaches have chronic cluster headaches.footnote 1

Related Information



  1. Evans RW (2009). Headache. In EG Nabel, ed., ACP Medicine, section 11, chap. 8. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
  2. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society (2004). International classification of headache disorders: 2nd ed. Cephalalgia, 24(Suppl 1): 9–160.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerColin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015