Clusterheads is a film about people living with cluster

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					Justin Ott “Clusterheads” Treatment

        Clusterheads is a documentary for anyone who has felt pain or known someone who has

felt pain. The film is about how these courageous people learn to overcome what is often

considered the worst pain known to man. Clusterheads will explore this little known medical

condition and related issues that affect nearly a million people in the United States as well as

their friends and families. The documentary is about people, Clusterheads, living with cluster

headaches. However, this documentary will appeal to nearly everyone.            It is a film about

suffering, hope, sadness and joy.

        The cause and cure of Cluster Headache Syndrome are unknown. A cluster headache

attack is unilateral (one sided) with a sharp, stabbing pain that may begin around one eye. The

attack is then usually accompanied by a tearing or bloodshot eye, drooping eyelid, and congested

or runny nose on the side of the attack. It can radiate from the eye to the forehead, temple, ear,

cheek, jaw and neck on the same side. The pain of a cluster headache has been described as so

excruciating that most victims cannot sit still and feel compelled to rock in a chair, walk back

and forth, or bang their heads against something. The pain is so extreme that Dr. Peter Goadsby,

the world’s leading researcher on CH has commented, “Cluster headache is probably the worst

pain that humans experience”. Most cluster headache victims experience these attacks 2 to 10

times daily. The pain quickly escalates from no pain to unbearable pain within five minutes, and

subsides in the same manner. Attacks can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours or more.

        Cluster headache pain can be treated with various types of medications to try and prevent

the onset of cycles, or clusters of attacks. Perhaps the best treatment for aborting an attack is an

injection of Imitrex. But Imitrex, a popular migraine drug, is expensive, and must be used in

moderation. Some patients with heart conditions cannot use Imitrex, leaving them to use pure

Oxygen to abort the attack. But oxygen doesn’t always work. Clusterheads need more effective

and safer methods to treat their condition. This film will bring attention to cluster headaches and

hopefully motivate more funding and research.
Justin Ott “Clusterheads” Treatment

        The cluster headache community began with the website, which

was set up by D.J., who appears in the film. He created the site 10 years ago because there was

no information on the Internet about cluster headaches. Today, thousands of people use the

message boards on to communicate, share medical experiences, and to

support each other. This support is extremely important because with so few people are able to

understand the pain, loneliness and depression Clusterheads feel. The film will also focus on the

struggle some sufferers deal with to continue working with the chronic onslaught of attacks.

Without work, it is difficult to afford health insurance and pay for the expensive medications that

are used to treat the condition.

        Clusterheads will feature interviews with sufferers and doctors, and examine the daily

lives of cluster headache sufferers, or Clusterheads. The film will document and show what it is

like to work, raise a family, with cluster headaches. Some people are worse off than others, but

on a whole, the cluster headache community is strongly supportive one and functions as normal

hard working members of society. The pain is so bad and so few experience it, that the only

people who understand what a sufferer goes through is another Clusterhead. Several times a year

Clusterheads get together at conventions or just social gatherings. The documentary will show

some of these meetings and the amazing human bond formed between Clusterheads even

through adversity.

        The educational aspect of the film will include introductions to various treatments that

include, medication, oxygen therapy, and even alternative treatments such as surgery and magic

mushroom dosing. Clusterheads will interview and visit with Bob Wold, a man who has had a

difficult time finding relief from his cluster headaches. He started using magic mushrooms and

the pain stopped for the first time. He now runs the website which helps

people find information about using magic mushrooms to treat cluster headaches. Mr. Wold is

also working with two doctors in Massachusetts who are engaged in a Psilocybin trial. They are
Justin Ott “Clusterheads” Treatment

attempting to isolate the psilocybin in magic mushrooms and LSD in order to safely use it in pill

form to treat cluster headaches. The documentary will feature interviews with these doctors

about why they are doing the study and how hard it was to get it started, as well as check in on

their research progress.

        Clusterheads will have the benefit of having one of the countries leading headache

neurologists, Dr. Lawrence Newman, as a contributor and advisor. He lectures worldwide and is

the head of the Headache Institute at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. The

experience Dr. Newman has treating cluster headaches will be evident as he gives clear and

concise explanations of the symptoms and possible treatments for the condition. This

information will be new even to some very experienced doctors. Hopefully this will decrease the

alarming number of missed diagnoses.

        One person who Clusterheads will follow is Chuck. Chuck is a chronic cluster headache

sufferer in his forties who has anywhere from eight to twelve attacks a day. Chuck cannot use

Imitrex due to a heart condition and must use oxygen to treat his attacks, which can take up to 30

minutes to abort the pain. Most people will never see what a cluster headache looks like. It’s not

easy to watch, but it needs to be seen in order to comprehend the severity of the condition. The

film will actually show Chuck having an attack. Chuck pulls his hair, and bangs his head on the

ground during an attack. He yells and paces and writhes in pain. But after the attack, he goes

back to being a father and doing what little work he can do. And then he waits and dreads the

next attack.

        This documentary is not just for people with headaches. It is a film about the human

condition. Everyone experiences health problems during their life and it’s how they deal with

them that may define their lives. The Clusterheads featured in this film will be an inspiration to

anyone suffering pain, chronic illness, or who knows someone who is. It will give them hope and

show that no illness is stronger than the human spirit.