2020–2021 BCSC Basic and Clinical Science Course™
Chapter 12: The Patient With Head, Ocular, or Facial Pain
Idiopathic Stabbing Headache
Also known as “ice pick headache” and “jabs and jolts syndrome,” idiopathic stabbing headache manifests as episodic, momentary, sharp, jabbing pains and occurs more commonly in patients with migraine than in those with other types of headaches. Patients with cluster headaches also have a high incidence of idiopathic stabbing headache, typically occurring in the same area as the cluster pain. The most common location for such headaches is in the distribution of V1, particularly the orbit, and less commonly the parietal, temporal, facial, occipital, and retroauricular regions. The pain may last less than a second or may occur as a series of stabbing sensations. Idiopathic stabbing headache often responds to indomethacin administration, and many patients improve with standard prophylactic headache drugs.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 5 - Neuro-Ophthalmology. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.