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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Ice Pick Headache: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Very painful headaches that can come anytime are called ice pick headaches. They seem like someone has stabbed you. They do not come with a warning sign and of often very painful. But the good thing is that they do not last long enough. They occur any time and anywhere, during sleep or when you are awake. It could also happen many times during the day, there is no fixed time for it. ice pick headache is also called stabbing headache.

Who can suffer from Ice Pick Headaches?

ice pick headaches

People who are above 40 years of age usually are more prone to headaches or migraines. Although, there is no fixed criteria in terms of age. It can occur to almost anyone.

What are the Causes and triggers for ice pick headache?

ice pick headache causes

women experiencing headache

If there is an over activity in any sensitive area in your head, then you might experience pain. It could be due any pre-existing problem. Though the precise cause is not known.

The structures in your brain like blood vessels, nerves play a key role in it. But certain factors could trigger it lie stress, disturbed sleep, poor eating habits, certain foods could trigger it. If you suffer from other forms of migraines or headache, then probably you will be more prone to ice pick headache,

Signs and Symptoms of Ice Pick Headaches


women suffering from headache

Ice pick headaches are very sharp and painful. But certain signs and symptoms are typical of it.

  1. Excruciating pain around you head or temple region

  2. Pain does not last very long

  3. Could occur many times during the day

  4. They occur very fast and go away quickly also

  5. Pain lasts for few seconds

  6. No warning comes before them

  7. Could occur in multiple areas around the head and temple region

  8. Stabbing like feeling could occur many times during the day

How to make the diagnosis?

ice pick headache diagnosis

team of doctors

If your headache is problem is a severe one then yourself must get yourself checked. If headaches come very often you should seek help of your doctor.

A proper medical examination and diagnosis should be done by your doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions about various triggering factors. Headache occurrence, duration, severity.  If you are on any medication and if that triggered the headache. If you are suffering from stress then you should let your doctor know. Depending on the history and symptoms the type of headache can be diagnosed. If the case is very severe then the doctor might even advise a CT scan or MRI to see what is happening in your brain.

Treatment and management options



Ice pick headaches do not come with a warning sign, so you should be prepared to take the medicine beforehand. It would not give you enough time to take your medicine during the headache, so you should be prepared.

Drugs to consider include:

  1. Indomethacin or a NSAID that can be used to treat pain and inflammation. Can also treat headaches.

  2. Melatonin (N-acetyl-5 methoxy tryptamine).

  3. It is also used to treat nervous pains

You should keep a track of your daily activities, stress, food and notice what triggers you and what makes you most prone to headaches.

If you want to try some other form of treatment then try acupuncture therapy and see if it suits you.

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