Ice pick headaches, or primary stabbing headaches, are sharp, painful headaches that start and end suddenly. They can feel as if they are around the eyes or temples, or moving side to side. They are called an ice pick headache because they consist of a jabbing, jolting pain that feels like an ice pick. They tend only to last a few seconds, up to a minute. Sometimes they occur once, or they may reoccur in the same or different spots.
There are two kinds of ice pick headaches: primary ice and secondary. Experts are unsure of the cause of primary ice pick headaches. There are theories that they occur due to a brief disruption in how the brain controls pain. They could also be due to nerves, blood vessels, or muscles in the head and neck, and genetics may place a role. Secondary ice pick headaches can occur as the result of various conditions, for example, shingles or Bell’s palsy.
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