OUCH(UK) Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache


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#1 Sun, 31/12/2017 - 16:41
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 20/12/2017 - 20:54


Hi All, I'm a new member who suffers from chronic CH kept more or less under control with verapamil. I live in a very rural part of Scotland, but my family are all in Yorkshire. I have noticed that every time I go down to visit the CH get worse. They all live near a big city and as I get closer I can smell the pollution in the air. I was just wondering if the headaches are coincidental or whether that could be a factor? Any ideas?

Tue, 02/01/2018 - 14:06
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 14:04

Hi Debbie,

I've certainly never read anything to support this idea and I'm sure pollution itself doesn't cause CH.   But I actually used to wonder about this myself.  I think it was when CH was quite new to me and hadn't be diagnosed in me.  I used to feel that there was a link between being in London a lot and my attacks. Being in smokey environments didn't help either.  Who's to say that it doesn't make the attacks worse or more frequent?

You could read a lot into the fact that I've suffered much less with CH since I moved out into semi-rural Essex, but I think that's more to do with age if I'm honest.  

Your message brought back memories of a trip I did to Aviemore more than 15 years ago.  It felt so remote, so quiet, the air so clean and very very far north!   It's an 8 hour drive for me and the final two hours are in amazing landscapes.  As we drove home, the world gradually got busier, faster, dirtier and more stressful as we got further south.  Interestingly, I was suffering with a bout of shadows and they went away while I was in Aviemore but came back as I drove home.  I put that down to stress.



Wed, 03/01/2018 - 11:35
Last seen: 27 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 14:26


if you are used to very fresh air where you live, coming into the cities where there are many more fumes from cars and many other things, it could have a bearing on the increase you have experienced.  Petrol fumes and things like paint fumes and strong chemicals can trigger many! All these smells are much more diluted where you live!

take care


Sun, 18/02/2018 - 22:02
Loullab's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 05/02/2018 - 21:54

Hi Debbie, I’m new to cluster headaches having only been diagnosed in October - drs treated me for 20 years as migraines!!- that being said I live in the country & when I head to a city I have always suffered from then afterwards. I’m going up to London for research with regards to this link so will let you know how it goes!! 

Mon, 19/02/2018 - 09:49
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 14:04

Slightly unrelated, but reading Loullab's comment reminds me of the GP I had once who questioned whether there was anything wrong with me (because whenever I arrived at his surgery I wasn't in pain)  treated me for migraine, and then refused to call my headaches anything but migraine, even after Dr Blau diagnosed me with CH.  I didn't like him very much.

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