Stabbing headache is one of multiple headache syndromes that may occur either as a primary headache or secondary headache. Careful evaluation for underlying causes is important for these uncommon types of headache.
Primary stabbing headache is characterized by transient, sharp, jabbing pains. The pain can be localized at any site on the head and frequently causes the patient to wince. They appear suddenly either as single stabs or multiple reocurring, mild to intense stabbing pain. This headache subtype has been diagnosed in both children and adults.
The individual stabs typically last for a few seconds and often occur at irregular intervals ranging from rare attacks to more than one attack each day . The stabbing pains occur in the absence of organic disease of the cranial nerves . However, a structural abnormality must be excluded.
Most patients with primary stabbing headache also have another coexisting primary headache disorder, such as migraine or cluster headache. In these cases, the stabbing usually occurs in areas of the head that are involved in the coexisting headache. This implies that the stabbing pain might result from spontaneous firing in individual nerve fibers sensitized by recurrent activation.
The diagnosis of primary stabbing headaches is based upon a particular criteria. The Manhattan Center for Headache and Neurology has exceptional providers to further evaluate and facilitate acute and extended management. We look forward to treating you!
By: Jordan Shankle, PA