OUCH(UK) Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache


Advice Line

0800 6696 824

Treatment for Shadows?

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 Fri, 03/12/2021 - 10:07
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 26/02/2014 - 15:14

Treatment for Shadows?

Hi All,

I'm actually in quite a lucky position, my last episode is nearly 5 years ago, and for that I'm very grateful. However, I have shadows since nearly 1.5 years now (= a lot of the sensations which I would feel just before headaches start, like the typical pressure in that region of the face, getting a little restless/agitated, etc, but no pain at all). The shadows are sometimes so intense that, if I would be in an episode / CH bout, I would take medication because the onset of the pain would be so imminent.

While I have no pain, the shadows still wear me down. I think with every more intense shadow-'attack' my body goes automatically into a panic mode or fight-or-flight response, because it still expects the onset of the excruciating pain any minute now. I'm generally not too well since a while now (physically and mentally), and the shadows make my overall situation just more difficult.

Thus, I was wondering whether people have experience with things which might help to get rid of the shadows?

Best wishes,


Edit: For the proper treatment of the pain (when I'm in an episode), I couldn't take the standard preventative medications. Instead, I used acute treatments (nasal spray and injections), sometimes combined with Naratriptan tablets (4 spread over the day). GammaCore sometimes helped and sometimes not.

Mon, 31/01/2022 - 12:25
Last seen: 2 months 2 days ago
Joined: 20/11/2017 - 20:02

Hi Andre

Many find oxygen to works well for shadows but in my case it does nothing. However oxygen often stops a full blown attack for me. Instead I find one 100mg tablet of sumatriptan works but takes nearly 2 hours to do so. I sometimes wonder if the shadow would have gone away without treatment but with "experimentation" I think it is the sumatriptan. If shadows are occuring alongside attacks maximum daily drug doses are more likely to be reached (assuming you abort with a triptan) or even  breached. Side effects remain uncommon BUT you have a risk of rebound (or tachyphylaxis - big word - but more drug needed for same effect until hardly works) or medication overuse headache (more common than we think and probably can happen with triptans - best Google that!). However my shadows appear at the end of a cluster when the attacks have stopped so sumatriptan is all I will be taking and rarely need more than 100mg in 24 hours. Good luck. Dean (Retired Doctor but not a headache specialist).

Fri, 17/06/2022 - 18:54 (Reply to #2)
Harley 6247
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 10/06/2022 - 11:19

Hi my name is Bob and I was diagnosed with episodes CH five years ago and am having a bout.  Apart from the cluster attacks I am also having a deep pain above the eye in between which are still painful.  What medication can I take for these.

Robert Smith


Mon, 12/09/2022 - 09:51
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 12/09/2022 - 09:27

I am also experiencing shadow headaches. They last for days without climaxing in an intense attach. I am on verapamil which worked for a few days but now my attacks are back with a vengence and not responding as readily to treatments. However the shadows are also very uncomfortable too and make me feel nauseous. Sometimes I will throw up and the pressure in my head stops me from leaning my head or lying down despite feeling exhausted. I'm not sure what else to try. Oxygen and nasal sprays generally stop my headaches although neither has an effect on my shadow headaches. Any suggestions?

Login to add comments

Share This

© OUCH(uk) 2024 | email: info@ouchuk.org
Registered Charity No. 1091919 | Registered in England Company No. 04339368