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Constant Pain & Stabbing Head Pains

by
author image Jessica Lietz
Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.
Constant Pain & Stabbing Head Pains
Stabbing pain in the head could result from a migraine headache. Photo Credit lenanet/iStock/Getty Images

Experiencing constant stabbing head pains can interfere with daily life, making it difficult to get through the day at work or school. The pains can come on suddenly and sometimes take days to retreat, causing significant disruption. Fortunately, most cases of stabbing head pains are preventable with lifestyle changes, and treatable with self-care and medication as recommended by a doctor.

Features

In addition to persistent stabbing pain in the head, some people might experience additional symptoms such as vision disturbances, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, chills and fatigue. The pain could last several hours to three days, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians website.Women are more likely than men to have stabbing head pain. Some might experience stabbing head pain on a daily basis, while others experience it only rarely.

Causes

According to the National Library of Medicine website, the most common cause of stabbing head pain is tension headache, which results from tightness or tension in the shoulder, neck, scalp and jaw. Another common cause is a migraine headache. Skipping meals, working long hours, lack of sleep and overconsumption of caffeine, alcohol or foods containing chocolate, monosodium glutamate or dairy products can also trigger stabbing head pains and persistent pain. Other causes include hormonal changes, tooth grinding, poor posture, depression, anxiety and stress. Rarely, stabbing head pain results from a brain aneurysm or stroke, both of which are life threatening. A sudden onset of the most severe headache you've ever experienced requires immediate medical care.

Treatments

Try sipping water and resting in a dark and quiet room to ease stabbing head pains that result from a migraine or tension headache. Over-the-counter pain relievers might help. Doctors might prescribe medications such as antidepressants, Botox injections or ergotamines for patients to take when symptoms begin, or for people whose pains do not respond to over-the-counter medication. Doctors treat stroke and brain aneurysm with emergency surgery.

Prevention

Getting enough sleep, exercising most days and eating a nutritious diet can help to prevent pain caused by headaches. In addition, the National Library of Medicine website suggests stretching the neck and shoulders and using other relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga. To help manage stress that can lead to stabbing head pains, the Mayo Clinic website suggests simplifying schedules and allowing for flexibility in routines, maintaining a positive attitude, taking a few minutes of time each day to recharge, and letting go of things that cannot be controlled.

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