Ice pick headaches. They are short, stabbing, extremely intense headaches that can be both terrifying and unbearable. They generally only last between five and 30 seconds. However, they come out of nowhere and can strike anywhere on the head. Sufferers describe their pain as literally feeling as if an ice pick is being stuck into their head.
Thankfully, ice pick headaches are not that common. Research suggests that only 2% of the population ever experience ice pick headaches and usually not until middle age (commonly in the mid-40s.) This type of headache rarely affects children and teenagers.
Since ice pick headaches are short lived, there have been very few treatments tested and found effective. Many doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medication – similar to ibuprofen. Other sufferers, however, have found their own way of treating their occurrences.
Hot mustard: Some people are able to get two hours of pure pain relief from swallowing a teaspoon of hot yellow mustard. Doctors believe perhaps the spicy stimulation is able to ward off symptoms – at least temporarily.
Hand warming: A case published in the journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (June 2011) describes a patient who got temporary relief from his ice-pick headaches by warming his hands.
While home remedies may ease the pain of ice pick headaches, the condition may coincide with other types of headaches – such as migraines or cluster headaches. It’s important you get professional headache treatment immediately. Here at Pasadena Pain Management, we treat many forms of headaches and migraines using integrative sports medicine and advanced dental technologies. Patients report relief – both short and long term – almost immediately.