Friend with stabbing pain in back of head; won't see doctor?

Health Professional

Full Question:

My friend has been experiencing stabbing pain in the back of his head. He said it lasts about 20 seconds, goes away and then returns. He has had as many as 20 episodes during the day. He says it seems better when he moves his head from side to side. I can't convince him to see a Dr. Please advise. Lawrence.

Full Answer:

Dear Lawrence;

As much as we'd like to help, you already know the answer. Your friend needs to see a doctor. Unexplained head pain should always be investigated and diagnosed. Statistically, it's unlikely to be dangerous, but you never know. The only person who can definitively tell him what these pains are is a doctor who can review his medical history and family medical history, discuss his symptoms with him, and examine him - in person.

One possibility is ice pick headaches, which last for just seconds. You can find information about them in Ice Pick Headaches - The Basics. Nobody can diagnose via the Internet, so we can only say that ice pick headaches are a possibility, and your friend does need to see a doctor. He should specifically be sure that the exam includes a good head and neck exam with palpaing the areas where the pain occurs.

Thanks for your question,
David Watson, MD, and Teri Robert


About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. He and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about _ Dr. Watson_ or more about _** Teri Robert** _.

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