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How Long Do Ice Pick Headaches Last?

Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 12:04 pm


The head pain from icepick headaches usually last for a couple of seconds. But some people may experience it for a minute or so.

Ice-Pick headache also has the tendency to move from a section to another in the opposite or same side of the head. The pain isn’t long-lasting and doesn’t require any serious treatments to heal.

Ice Pick Headache for 3 Days

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The medical term for an ice pick headache is called ‘Ophthalmodynia Periodica.’ This severe pain in the head can be caused by an ice pick headache but it’s only for a few seconds.

It’s highly unlikely for someone to have an ice pick headache for a day, let alone 3 days. If your headache is persisting for the last 3 days, then this could be the side effects of something serious.

Your headache might stem from other causes like stress, dehydration, alcohol, poor posture, certain odors, or irregular sleeping patterns. The common causes behind long-lasting headaches for the general population are these.

However, ice pick headaches can occur dozens of times in a day for some people. It is advisable for individuals to seek proper medical consultation in such cases to identify and treat the problem.

Why Do I Keep Having Ice Pick Headaches?

Most experts aren’t able to identify the root issue on why certain individuals keep having ice pick headaches. But every type of headache tends to possess both secondary and primary causes.

Secondary headaches are usually caused by medical conditions such as numerous sclerosis, shingles, and meningioma. These health conditions, along with other known symptoms tend to cause this headache.

Primary ice pick headaches in people don’t have an underlying cause behind the stabbing pain. Here, people experience these severe headaches without any other symptoms.

Sudden Sharp Pain in the Head That Goes Away Quickly

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A sudden sharp pain in the head is usually caused by an ice pick headache. It goes away quickly but it does come back in different intervals of the day.

Some people might experience it often while the rest may not. It all depends on the individual and whether these series of stabs are stemming from other symptoms as well.

The International Classification of Headache Disorders regards this condition as a primary stabbing headache. Patients report the stabs as brief, intense, and painful.

This uncommon headache disorder comes when you least expect it and the pain from the single stab lasts for a few seconds. Did you know that most people compare this pain to them being stabbed with a knife in their eye or head?

Yes! that is how painful the stab can be. We will advise you to go see headache specialists if these attacks seem to come around often.

Some primary triggers for the cause of this headache includes:

  • Excess alcohol consumption.
  • Heat or Cold.
  • Fatigue, and
  • Lack of sleep or changes in one’s sleeping pattern.

Should I Worry About Sharp Pains in My Head?

Sudden headaches that cause intense pain is also known as a thunderclap headache. This type of headache isn’t serious but frequent occurrences can signify something sinister with your health.

Most people aren’t aware of this, but a sudden intense headache might be a symptom of bleeding or aneurysm inside the brain. Other similar symptoms may include seizures, blurred vision, and a loss or decrease in consciousness.

Ice Pick Headaches Aneurysm

Ice pick headache is one of the most painful types of headaches even if it’s short lived. The cases of aneurysm associated with ice pick headaches are quite rare.

But there is a possibility, and you should make it a priority to see a healthcare professional when you experience the following symptoms:

  • If the frequency of your headache is increasing.
  • Occurring with a variety of symptoms, or
  • If it’s happening in the same area.

You should also seek immediate medical attention if your ice pick headache is accompanied by symptoms such as double vision, eye syndrome, or a droopy eyelid.

One should head for the emergency room in such situations.

Ice Pick Headache Relief

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If you are having primary stabbing headache from time to time, then it’s probably an ice pick headache. Your cranial nerves are sensitive and can instantly sense pain.

The 5th cranial nerve in particular often acts as the common denominator in situations concerning facial pain and headaches. You can see a healthcare provider to see if you meet the diagnostic criteria of this condition.

There are different treatment options for this headache. But consuming medication isn’t usually advised since an ice pick headache subsides after a few seconds.

So, there’s no point in taking medicines because the pain is already gone before your body even digests the medication. However, here’s what you can do to prevent and relieve this headache:

  • You can consume daily prescribed headache medicines by your doctor to ward off migraine attacks.
  • Consumption of melatonin for reducing the frequency of migraine headaches.
  • Prescription NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like Indomethacin (Tivorbex®) can be taken to reduce pain. Indomethacin is also known to relieve pain from hemicrania continua.

You could also resort to some natural remedies to provide relief to your ice pick headache. Here’s what you can try:


Mustard will rescue you from this debilitating headache. Ensure that you take a tsp of the hot yellow mustard.

The spice will stimulate your body and provide temporary relief to your head. Experts suggest this remedy since everyone has mustard in their kitchen shelf.

Lemon Juice + Rock Salt

Here, you will need to start squeezing out lemon juice and mix it water in a small cup. Proceed to add some rock salt into the mixture and swallow it.

It provides your body with Vitamin C, minerals, cofactors, and enzymes. Your immune system will require these anti-inflammatory vitamins and antioxidants to fight the pain.

Essential Oils

Essential oils also prove to be quite helpful since they possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint or menthols in general proves to be effective in eliminating ice pick headaches.

You can buy one the store or create your own unique blend to aid your headache. Use the oil and proceed to gently massage the aching area.


Turmeric also does an excellent job because of its effective anti-inflammatory properties. Start crushing raw turmeric for its juice and consume it.

You can also add black pepper that’s freshly grounded to acquire more benefits. Black Pepper contains piperine, which elevates the turmeric’s efficacy by 300%.

However, you can always use turmeric powder in the absence of a raw one. Just mix it with a tall glass of water and start gulping it down.

In the same breath, you should also take up preventive measures such as:

  • Avoid skipping meals and stick to a healthy diet plan.
  • Make it a priority to get sufficient sleep.
  • Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga for managing stress levels.
  • Leave smoking and consumption of other products.
  • Resort to therapies such as acupuncture and biofeedback.

How Do You Get Rid of Ice Pick Headaches Naturally?

You can massage your head using essential oils to get rid of your ice pick headache. Make a blend of ingredients like basil, helichrysum, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, and peppermint.

Ice Pick Headache Tumor

There are primary and secondary causes behind a primary headache disorder or headaches in general. This could be about cluster headaches, tension headaches, or someone with a history of migraine.

Ice pick headache may indicate the possibility of a brain tumor, but the cases are pretty rare. A brain tumor also called Meningioma may cause ice pick headache symptoms.

So, there are chances of such serious health conditions to be behind something as simple as an ice pick headache. Hence, it’s imperative for people to get themselves checked from time to time.

But to conclude, such a case is as rare as having paroxysmal hemicrania. However, one should always be aware of his/her health and seek medical attention under such suspicions.

What Brain Conditions Cause Ice Pick Headaches?

Some brain conditions that are responsible for causing ice-pick headaches include multiple sclerosis, shingles, and meningioma.

Ice Pick Headache Coronavirus

The coronavirus is responsible for causing many deaths and side effects in affected patients. Headache seems to be one of the common symptoms in majority of the patients.

Apart from tension-type headache, stabbing or ice pick cephalalgia was reported to be a symptom in 10% of the Covid-19 cases. This headache is comparable to trigeminal neuralgia and conjunctival injection because of its symptoms and pain.

Conjunctival injection is one of the many cranial autonomic symptoms. It is present in migraineurs and causes immense pain to people with migraine symptoms.

But most studies argue that ice pick headache isn’t well characterized with the coronavirus side effects. It’s because headaches from covid are long-lasting and doesn’t go away in seconds like ice pick.

How Long is a Covid-19 Headache Supposed to Last?

Covid-19 headaches usually last between 10-14 days, depending on the person’s recovery process. But most people report having headaches even after they have fully recovered from the virus.

A study revealed that Covid-affected patients still suffer from the virus’ symptoms post 6 months from recovery.


How Long Will Headaches Last with Coronavirus?

Headaches as a symptom of Coronavirus usually lasts for 2 weeks at max. But if the individual doesn’t take care of himself, then the pain will persist for a longer period.

How Do You Get Rid of an Ice Pick Headache?

You can consume prescription medication like Indomethacin to find instant relief from an ice pick headache.

When Should I Be Worried About Ice Pick Headaches?

Having an ice pick headache from time to time is normal in human beings. But it’s a red flag when they tend to be constant and is interfering with your daily life activities.

We recommend seeing a medical professional or headache specialists at the earliest. The issue could be something far deeper than a normal ice pick headache.

How Long Do Ice Picks Migraines Last?

Migraine is known for its symptoms like nausea, nasal congestion, vomiting, headaches, and sensitivity to sound and light. But ice pick headache also comes into the picture, depending on the case and person.

The headache feels like someone is stabbing you on your eyes and head. They last for a few seconds but can even go up to a minute at times.

It is common for ice pick headaches to occur over a dozen times in a day on a worst-case scenario.

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