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What is an Ice Pick Headache?

815492_computer_frustrationIce Pick Headache is a short, sharp, stabbing and intense pain around eyes or temples and is generally harmless. But it strikes without any symptoms or warning. It usually lasts between 5 and 30 seconds. It can be scary because by the time you realize you are in pain it disappears.

Just like you hit and scrape the ice in an ice-bucket using an ice pick, an instrument to get ice, you experience the same pain as though you are being stabbed in the head or eyes with an ice pick. Hence the name Ice Pick Headache! It is also known as “Primary Stabbing Headache” as there is no specific cause of this headache.

Characteristic Features of Ice Pick Headache:

  • Occurrence of headache in a series of jabs or singly.
  • Lasts for only a few seconds but can show up without any regularity several times during the day.
  • Stabbing pain most predominant on the sides of the face, temple area and around the orbit of the eyes.

Sharp and stabbing pain at the base of the skull or on top of the head is not an Ice Pick Headache.

Primary Stabbing Headache is commonly seen in adults with migraine or any other head pain disorder and very rarely in children.

Can Ice Pick Headache be Treated?

Treating this condition is much easier than diagnosing it. Explain all your symptoms to your doctor. Do not be under the impression that these headaches are due to some major complications in your brain. It is a difficult task to treat this condition because by the time you start taking any medications the pain is gone.

The following options are recommended for relieving the pain.

  • Indomethacin 25mg – 150mg: This falls under the category of powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can cause ulcers in the stomach. It is also not advisable for people suffering from asthma. Take it under doctor’s prescription.
  • Anti-epilectic and anti-depressant drugs are also effective in treating the pain.

If you know the cause of the stabbing pain, relax and take deep breaths. The more you are composed, the quicker the chances of pain reduction.

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