What Causes An Ice Pick Headache?

What Causes An Ice Pick Headache? The pain from an ice-pick headache can be intense and debilitating, so if you have one, you’ll want to get to the bottom of what’s causing it as soon as possible so that you can start taking steps to relieve your symptoms.

 The good news is that there are quite a few things that can lead to this particular type of headache, and there are also multiple ways to treat it once you know the underlying cause.

What Is An Ice Pick Headache?

An ice-pick headache is a rare type of headache. It gives you a sudden, sharp, stabbing pain in the head (or a short series of pains). The pain occurs quickly and usually doesn’t last long. If it does, the doctor may need more tests to find out what’s wrong.

The symptoms can be similar to those from migraine headaches or cluster headaches.

Some people with an ice pick headache also have sensitivity to light or sound; blurred vision; nausea; vomiting; neck stiffness or soreness; difficulty with balance and walking; numbness on one side of their body.

Types Of Ice Pick Headaches

There are two types of ice pick headaches: primary and secondary. The primary type is caused by inflammation or a lesion in the brain. The second type is due to a headache disorder such as chronic migraine, cluster headache, hemicrania continua, trigeminal neuralgia, post-traumatic headache, or medication overuse headache.

Suppose you have all the typical symptoms of an ice-pick headache, including a tight feeling on one side of your head, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, and nausea. In that case, you likely suffer from Secondary Chronic Migraine (SCM) or another type of headache disorder.

 In these cases, your doctor will recommend painkillers and prescription drugs to treat the underlying cause.

Medications And Home Remedies

You can do a few things to try and relieve an ice-pick headache. First, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or aspirin can help. If those don’t work, home remedies include placing a cold compress on your forehead or temples. A lot of fluids, especially water, can also help since ice pick headaches can sometimes be caused by being dehydrated.

If you get them frequently, it might be worth seeing a doctor explore other options.


One possible cause of ice pick headaches is cluster headaches. These headaches are recurrent forms of headache. They’re often accompanied by other symptoms like sensitivity to light and sound.

Another possible cause of ice pick headaches is migraine headaches. Migraines are usually more severe than ice-pick headaches, and symptoms like nausea and vomiting can accompany them.

 Still another possible cause of ice pick headaches is brain aneurysms. Aneurysms are weak spots in the blood vessels in the brain. If one of these weak spots bursts, it can cause bleeding and swelling. This can lead to symptoms like a severe headache, confusion, double vision, nausea, and vomiting. A ruptured brain aneurysm could also trigger a stroke.

In addition, since ruptured brain aneurysms are so rare, some doctors don’t think this diagnosis should be considered until other causes have been ruled out.

Related Posts

1 of 79