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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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Sharp shooting pains in the left side of my head.

Resolved Question:

Having sharp shooting pains in the left side of my head. No other symptoms or reactions. Ct scan and spinal tap revealed nothing. What is this and how do I treat it.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.

Is this the left forehead?


Back of the head?

Any neck pain?

How long does it last? Seconds?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
1. Left side of the head above the ear. Not the temple or forehead or back of the head.
2. No pain or reaction in the neck, shoulders, arms or any part of the body.
3. Pains last only seconds. Have about 5 to 7 sharp pains per minute.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.

Did you have any skin changes there recently? Rash? Infection? Swelling?

Does it hurt if you press down in that area?

Is it the same exact spot over and over?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No skin issues. No rash or bumps or anything else. This came out of no where.
Does not hurt when I touch the area on the left side of my head. Yes, it's the same spot each time, each day. It went away for two days and then started again this morning.
I've read about cluster headaches and it doesn't fit the symptoms.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.


Do you happen to sleep on that side of the head?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No. I've tried to find logical answers for this just like you are asking. Can't find any. These pains come for a day or two, are intense, and then disappear for a day or so. It's not a migraine . Something else is wrong.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.

Well, the fact that this is a sharp, intermittent pain, in the same location, which comes and goes -- makes it seem that a nerve in the scalp is being irritated.

Such specific nerve irritations would cause a sharp, well defined pain (in contrast to more headache syndromes, which would be a more diffuse, longer lasting dull ache in most cases, or the sharp eye icepick as in cluster).

I would think that the nerve itself is inflammed, causing these sudden sharp pains.

You are correct in that this is difficult to diagnose, since there isn't a test that really diagnoses these types of pains. It is good you had the imaging tests and other tests to rule out other potential issues, but perhaps if this continues to go on, your doctor or a pain doctor can perform an injection (a nerve block - which would be some numbing medication and steroids) right in that area -- and if the pain is relieved, then you've got your diagnosis.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Can you suggest any pain medications I can ask my doctor about. Need to relieve the shooting pains to some degree if we can't solve or eliminate them. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.

Perhaps something that would help inflammation, such as Advil, or perhaps a short course of steroids, like a Medrol DosePak.

Also, if these are nerve-related pains, occasionally medications like gabapentin can "dull" out the pain as well.

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