It’s not unusual for someone who has migraines to have more than one type of migraine or another entirely different headache disorder. Up to 40% of migraineurs also experience primary stabbing headache, another primary headache disorder more commonly called “ice pick headaches.”
Primary stabbing headaches are short, stabbing, extremely intense headaches that can be absolutely terrifying. They generally 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 pain can also seem to occur in or behind the ear.
In an article published in Current Pain and Headache Reports, Dr. Todd Rozen summarized the situation of people with ice pick headaches quite succinctly:
“The short-lasting headache syndromes are unique based on their short duration of pain and their associated symptoms. Physicians need to be knowledgeable about these syndromes because each has its own distinct treatment and if the diagnosis is missed, the patient can be burdened with extreme headache-related disability.”
You can read more about primary stabbing headache / ice pick headaches in our newly updated article _Ice Pick Headaches - The Basics _.
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_Reviewed by David Watson, MD. _
© Teri Robert, 2014, - Last updated November 17, 2014.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.