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Answer to your Health Question


I have sporadic pain in the left side of my head.

It is a sharp pain on one side of my head that comes and goes.

It is a short 10 second sharp pain towards the front of my skull in the left side.

It is a sharp short burst pain (5-10 seconds) acute head pain with short duration and it is hard for me to give reason.

It feels like a slight stabbing pain and extremely intense headache. What is this coming from?

Do I need a brain scan?



Dear Joshua ,

They may be what i known as "ice pick headaches." They are short, stabbing, extremely intense headaches that can be absolutely terrifying.

They only last between five and 30 seconds.

However, they come out of nowhere, can strike anywhere on the head, literally feel as if an ice pick is being stuck into your head, then disappear before you can even figure out what's happening.

The International Headache Society diagnostic criteria are:

-Head pain occurring as a single stab or a series of stabs and fulfilling criteria B-D

-Exclusively or predominantly felt in the distribution of the first division of the trigeminal nerve (orbit, temple and parietal area)

-Stabs last for up to a few seconds and recur with irregular frequency ranging from one to many per day

-No accompanying symptoms

-Not attributed to another disorder

In almost every case, no cause for the headaches is found.

There are only a few cases published in medical journals of serious disease associated with ice pick pains.

You do not need a brain scan if you have these severe headaches.


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