Severe stabbing in my head

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/18/2008 10:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

I am really looking for your advice here.  I am 35 and have been suffering from severe sharp stabbing pains in my head for a number of years.  The pain usually is on the right side close to the top of my head.  I can't say that it is exactly in the same spot all the time, but it seems to be only on my left side.  They first started about 12 years ago – sudden and very frightening pains.  As my father has had a very interesting medical history (brain hemmohage (sp?), paralyzed below the waist...seizures etc - with no explanation), I was set up for tests, MRI results (2) confirmed nothing like a tumour was present in my brain.  I saw a pretty famous neurologist in Toronto Ontario who diagnosed it as "Hemicrania Continua" (very rare - think I spelled that correctly).  Indocid was the preferred method of treatment but as I have big problems with my stomach this medication was too harsh for me to take.  For a while, I was put on amitriptyline as it has a pain property to it.  I was on this for a year or so - it left me feeling exhausted and I was always bumping into things.  Not much stabbing though.  I did get migraines that started in and around this time but were not attached to the stabbing events – they would happen on different occasions.  I would get visual disturbances like fans at the side of my vision and that would be the sign I was going to have a migraine.  I eventually – at my wits end started seeing a chiropractor to see if he could help with the stabbing.  This actually helped…I was able to get off the amitriptyline and things improved.  I only had rare episodes of the severe stabbing.


A few years later, and now I am having this severe stabbing problem all the time.  Every day this is with me.  I now am a firm believer that this has something to do with my spine – at the top of my neck that is causing or a big contributor to this problem.  I never had the neck pain before but when the stabbing would hit – in the past I would lie down on a neck pillow and gradually this seemed to get better and go away.  Now my neck is so tender – I can’t play with my kids – running around and fun play for fear that my head might get jarred – which could trigger the pain.  I can’t look down for very long i.e. sitting down reading a magazine…can’t cross my legs…VERY STRANGE STUFF…  The pains are so severe it feels like someone is stabbing me with a very sharp object deep into my head.  The pain last seconds and I am left feeling very frightened and bracing myself for the next stab.  On one occasion a few months ago – I thought that I was having a brain hemmorage (due to my dad’s history and my symptoms) as the pain would not go away and kept stabbing and my left leg went numb.  I called the ambulance and was rushed to the hospital.  A CT scan proved nothing…was given indocid…things were getting better by this point though and then I was sent home.  


I am having other health problems that I don’t believe are related (except maybe for the stress of worry and frustration), but I will mention them here in case anyone can see any links.  I have been diagnosed with IBS – have been taking modulon 3x per day.  I also have stomach issues – they thought there was an ulcer at one point via tests that were taken but they were not positive – I continue to have sharp stomach problems and have to be very careful with what I eat.  I have been on a variety of medications the latest is previcid twice per day.  On severe attacks I drink Maalox and xlylocaine to numb the pain.  Fun stuff.  I have some numbness on the bottom of my feet immediately above the heal (again..on the bottom of my feet) – it is about an inch or so strip that goes right across the bottom of my foot).  I will get back pains without a direct correlation to lifting something the wrong way…they will just hit.


So there you have it….I am a mess.  I find it hard to work full time each day – but I push through it.  I really am looking for any thoughts – anyone who might be going through similar things – especially the head stuff – this is really where I am looking for help.


I am having another MRI this weekend of my neck…maybe that will show something.  I have another gastro scope being done in a couple of weeks…maybe that will show something for the other….I am just so frustrated and so tired of dealing with this and worrying….I just want answers.  I want to play with my kids and have the energy and feel well enough to do this.  


Any help/advice/contact with others going through this type of pain would be very very much appreciated.




New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 1/26/2008 2:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I dont know if you have heard of this before, but your situation makes me think of something I read about online not too long ago. It was about something called Icepick headaches. you should look it up if you have not already. They are described as short severe headaches that last only a few seconds or minutes mostly on one side of the head. From what I read they are not very well known, so maybe your doctor didnt realize. Perhaps you may have cluster headaches instead? You have probably heard of those. Hope this helps!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 1/26/2008 5:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi tiredofheadpain,

I am so sorry I have missed this! Firstly welcome to Healing Well. It does sound from what you say that you do have Icepick Headaches but only a qualified Doc can truly diagnose this. How long do these stabbing pains last? If they are only seconds it could well be the Icepick, but if it lasts up to 2 or 3 hours it could equally be Clusterheadache. But I am not a Doctor or qualified to diagnose!

If indeed you have Hemicrania Continua then the Icepicks are part of that disease too - I know because I have HC myself!

You may have something wrong with your neck aside from what is happening to your head or you may not. To be completely clear on this you need to see a Neurologist who is a Headache Specialist as soon as possible.

Please let me know how you get on, take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/28/2008 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,
Thanks for your replies.  Yes, indeed my neurologist said that it sounded like icepick headaches.  I had an MRI of my neck about a week ago.  I get the results on Wednesday of this week.  At this point I am pretty convinced that my neck is involved because when I have the stabbs - they are indeed very quick and don't last long.  Some very severe, others less but still frightening.  When it happens, I can usually manipulate my neck around and they will stop for a while.  I am really wondering if somewhere some nerve is getting pinched in my neck and sending these stabs into my head. 
I have never met someone who has HC before!  If you are comfortable - I would love to learn more about what you have gone through and how you have managed the headaches.  They are soooo frightening.  I am having them all the time.  As I have been typing this, they have stabbed me numerous times.  They will wake me up out of a deep sleep - so frightening and so frustrating.  I am so protective of my head - if it gets "jarred" in any way it can set this off.  It has taken years to really believe now that my neck is involved.  Will be very interesting to see what my neurologist says on Wednesday.
Love to hear more from people who have this type of problem - makes me feel better that I am not alone.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 147
   Posted 1/30/2008 1:13 PM (GMT -6)   
hi TOP,
i have headcahe similar like you but dint get tested yet at doc's.i guess i am going to watch it more closely.any suggestions.
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