Headache Education Center

PRIMARY STABBING HEADACHE


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Description


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This headache type has also been called “jabs and jolts”, “stabs and jabs”, “ice pick headaches”, and “ice pick pains”. It is characterized by quick stabs of pain in the head in a variable and localized pattern.  The location of the pain most often moves from 1 area to another anywhere in the head, but can occur in a single fixed location. The head pain can be a single stab or a series of stabs, with each stab most often lasting for a few seconds only, although rarely have been reported up to 2 minutes. The frequency is irregular and variable, and can occur from 1 to many stabs per day. There can be no autonomic symptoms [lacrimation (runniness/tearing of the eye), conjunctival injection (redness of the eye), facial sweating or flushing (skin turning blushed), nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (runniness of nose), sense of ear fullness, eyelid edema (swelling), or partial Horner’s syndrome (miosis (pupil becomes small)) and/or ptosis (droopiness of the eye)].