Sharp Intermittent Pain in Head

Updated on September 20, 2013
D.C. asks from San Francisco, CA
7 answers

Last winter after I had a terrible flue with a lot of coughing I started to have sharp intermittent pain in the left side of my head. They last only for a couple of sec and come and go. These episodes last for a week or 2 at most, and then they go away. They are different from any headache i had and I am starting to worry.
I am also very anxious so I would like to hear your opinions. The pain is sharp, like a electric shock. I only had 3 episodes since last year: one after that cold, one after a tooth extraction and one now. But I have to tell you I am 2 weeks zoloft free, maybe this has something to do with it
Blood analysis are ok, general health has always been ok, but this pain is driving me nuts!
Also i developped tinitus after taking zoloft. Now it's bettersince I stopped them. Will it go away for good? Thanks!!!

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So What Happened?

The pain is always in the same spot in the top of my head, on the left side. The spot seems tender to touch after these episodes.

More Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

Do talk to your doctor now to be sure that it's nothing more serious, but the kind of pain your describe and its location could actually be a muscle tension headache. What you are feeling may be a muscle spasm and its aftermath. I say this because of its location and the fact that it is tender to the touch afterward (just like a sore muscle after muscle spasms elsewhere).

Your doctor will be able to eliminate other, more dangerous possibilities (such as a vascular issue), and give you coping strategies (heat/cold application, meds, massage, etc.) if it is a tension headache.

Have you noticed whether or not these have a trigger? Based on what you've said here, it sounds like strong sensations in your mouth that cause muscles to contract might be it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think you should see your doctor. It sounds to me like you may have a chronic sinus infection still lingering after your bout with the flu. Sinus pain can definitely feel like a sharp, stabbing pain.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would never ignore a pain.
It's your body's way of telling you something is off or wrong.
Call your doc & ask for a CT or MRI scan of your head to ensure it's nothing more serious.
Best of luck!



answers from Omaha on

I used to get sharp pains in the back of my head near my hairline. Sometimes I would get sharp pains in other places of my head too. It started right after my son was born and last about a month. Then it started again about 18 months later when my daughter came along. I seriously thought I had a tumor in my head and I was worried! Turns out it was muscle tension. I was overworking the trapezius (sp?) muscles located in the upper back/shoulder area. I wasn't engaging my core muscles and with carrying around two babies under the age of 2 and all the accessories that go with them, it was causing a lot of pain. All of those muscles are connected to other muscles, nerves, and tissues in the head which was the cause of my terrible headaches. I went to physical therapy on and off for a period of 2 years for soft tissue massage and learned exercises to strengthen my core. I also took some anti-inflammatory medicines to help calm the swelling and pain. I am fine now and rarely get headaches anymore. You could also visit with a chiropractor to see if they can help relieve your pain. I found salonpas patches to be very useful. They are sticky patches with a mentholated balm on them that you can stick on your body. I would put them on my back and wear them all day. It helped relieve tension. You can find them in the pharmacy aisle of walmart/target, etc.
It is worth getting it checked out, but headaches can happen for a lot of reasons that are not life-threatening, just annoying. Pain in the back of your head usually means stress or muscle tension, sometimes headaches occur because of dehydration (drink lots of water, take a couple of advil and sit with ice packs on your head and neck. That should relieve it within 10-20 minutes) and if they are in the front part of your head thru your nose and cheeks it is usually signs of sinus problems. It could be migraines too. Some food allergies can cause headaches too. My husband gets headaches if he eats chocolate and others get headaches because of gluten.
Also if the pain is in the very top of your head, do you wear your hair up a lot? I have very heavy, thick hair that is usually up in a ponytail. Sometimes that causes pain in my head if it is too tight.
Try not to worry, but get it checked out!



answers from Salinas on

Hi D. C. Sorry to hear about your "electric shock" pain. You need to research trigeminal neuralgia. I had it and you need to see a dr to get proper medication. Only to have it ready when these episodes come back. There are some books on the subject and local support groups.
Best of luck



answers from San Francisco on

I also think you should see a doctor, but you should also consider (in addition, not instead) seeing a chiropractor. I used to have sharp pains in my head in various locations, just as you describe. After having my spine, and particularly my neck realigned, the pains went away. It rarely happens now and is a sign to me that I need to see my chiropractor!
You mentioned that you had a lot of coughing-- terrible coughing can definitely put your back out of alignment.



answers from Miami on

Have you had an MRI? If you haven't, go get one.

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