SUNCT-Short-lasting, Unilateral, Neuralgiform headache attacks with Conjunctival injection and Tearing

This is a rare type of headache that is most common in men over 50 years old. This headache is unilateral with a burning, piercing or throbbing quality and of moderate to severe intensity. The pain peaks within seconds of onset, and lasts from 5 seconds to 4 minutes. Attacks are typically during the daytime. Patients can have up to 6 attacks per hour.

During the attacks, patients may experience:

  1. watery eyes
  2. reddish or bloodshot eyes (conjunctival injection)
  3. nasal congestion
  4. runny nose
  5. sweaty forehead
  6. swelling of the eyelids
  7. increased pressure within the eye on the affected side of head

These headaches are not usually responsive to regular treatment for short-lasting headaches, however corticosteroids and anti-epileptic drugs may help to relieve symptoms. There is no cure for this type of headache. It is not fatal, but can be very uncomfortable.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call us for an evaluation.

By: Tanesha Reynolds, DNP, FNP, certified in headache medicine by The National Headache Foundation