"Electric Shock" type pain in my scalp!

Posted by Deby @deby, Aug 17, 2011

It feels like someone is touching my scalp with an electric wire or prod. Like a “zap” and then it takes a few seconds to get over it. It happens 2 or more times per MINUTE! It lastes for a couple of days usually and when it goes away it takes a few more days for my scalp not to be sore. I don’t know how many times a year it occurs but when it does, like today, it drives me crazy. I walk around making weird faces and people stare at me. They think I have a headache or migrain but I don’t, the pain is only on my scalp not IN my head. Sometimes the shocks occur over and over for a minute, then go back to 2 or more times per minute. It’s the weirdest thing and I can’t wait for it to be over. I never know when it’s going to occur or what brings it on. Anyone ever heard of something like this?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Chronic Pain group.

@annieg

I’m currently experiencing my second round of this pain. The first was two years ago and lasted more than a month before it finally went away. When people ask me to describe the pain I ask if they have ever seen the children’s movie, “Fern Gully”. I feel like the character Batty who escaped from a lab with wires implanted in his head and every so often they shock him. Two years ago a dr told me this was shingles, even tho there are no visible sores. The right half of my scalp, including my ear, feels almost numb and tight. As the days go by it is getting worse and the tingling is developing into more defined zaps. I find myself massaging my scalp to try to “loosen” the scalp from the scull if that makes any sense… I’ll start looking for a neurologist tonight…

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Hi, @annieg. I’m sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. Here is a link to the Neurology department at Mayo Clinic that may be helpful: http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/neurology.

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I have this sensation. It just started recently. Its scary. I dont have a headache or anything…its just these electrical bursts on my scalp and then its just sore to the touch. They only last 5 seconds. What is this?? Somone please tell me. Its so strange and I never know when it is coming on!!

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Yes I have had this over the years and have it right now since about 5pm, not able to sleep yet with the zap happening.VERY painful for about 4 – 8 seconds. I have been informed that there is a very slight swelling in the ear canal and the nerves at the side of the head run very closely to the nerves of the ear so it triggers off a synapse which is very painful. I found i get it if the windows are open in the car, i can’t have a breeze blowing at my ears or it happens like clock work. This morning i got splashed in the swimming pool into the ear, and then drove 1/2 hr to apt with windows open , it was a beautiful day free from smoke from the forest fires and i forgot so now i pay the price. I usually have a pair of ear puffs from the sporting goods store for skiing that i wear when the wind it up and i wear them, don’t care if it looks silly in summer but my hair covers them up. Better that than the horrid pain. I currently have taken a Tylenol #2, 5 mg of Oxycontin and 15 mg of oxazipam and i put an ice pack in the towel at the side of the head to numb the spot. The spot is about 2 1/2 inches above the ear on the scalp this time. Hope it simmers down asap, i need sleep.
I am a retired nurse. You have to pay attention to what you were doing within about 5 hours before onset of the zapping to know what is setting it off. good luck, always wear hats in cold weather.

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I am currently having this very thing going on. It started last evening and I am still experiencing it 20 hours later. I have had it before in the past, but never this painful or lasting this long. I timed it and I’m having between 4 and 6 episodes every minute with the episode lasting one or two seconds max. I barely made it through the grocery store today because I’m in so much pain and it’s hard to not wince, distort my face, or call out when its happening. I had to call off work today because of it because I work with the public. I got very little sleep last night and unless this lightens up some, I don’t think I’m going to be getting much tonight. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow morning. I’ve taken 9 motrin in the last 12 hours. It helps for an hour or two and then it’s right back to where it was. It’s maddening. How does one put up with this for long periods of time??

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Hi @lorimar89,
Welcome to Connect.

Here’s some information about trigeminal neuralgia http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trigeminal-neuralgia/basics/preparing-for-your-appointment/con-20043802. This might help prepare questions for your doctor’s appointment, especially if @switchinggranny‘s hunch is right.

You may also want to connect with @Restless67.
I hope you can rest well tonight. Please let us know what you find out at your appointment tomorrow.

Colleen
Connect Community Director

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@colleenyoung

Hi @lorimar89,
Welcome to Connect.

Here’s some information about trigeminal neuralgia http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trigeminal-neuralgia/basics/preparing-for-your-appointment/con-20043802. This might help prepare questions for your doctor’s appointment, especially if @switchinggranny‘s hunch is right.

You may also want to connect with @Restless67.
I hope you can rest well tonight. Please let us know what you find out at your appointment tomorrow.

Colleen
Connect Community Director

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Turns out it’s shingles! The electric shock feeling on my scalp is because my rash, now lesions, are on my neck, behind my ear and half way up the back of my scalp. Believe me, I have wondered…could i possibly have two things going on at the same time?? I have to go back to the doctor on Tuesday so they can see the progression and make sure the path it’s on is not a danger to my eye. If I’m still having the electric shock feeling on my scalp, I’ll address TN once again. I think they dismissed it after they saw the rash on my neck going up into my scalp. Also, I have NO facial pain, and that seems to be the most prominent symptom.

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@jeffacre

WOW! I have this issue too! It’s been driving me crazy for two days now, and I can’t seem to explain it to anyone. Nobody understands when you tell them it feels like a shock going thru the nerves in one area of your scalp. It’s like a quick, painful and shock to the nerves that almost take my breath away each time it hits. Thank Goodness it only happens for a second or two, but it is drivng me crazy because it’s EVERY FEW SECONDS and ALL DAY LONG NOW!!!
I too have also had a strange “jumpy nerve” feeling on my arm in the past. It seems I have these painful and annoying nerve issues a couple times a year.

***Were you ever able to find out what caused your shocking nerve pain in your scalp? Please let me know!
Thanks so much for validating what I’m going thru!

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Sorry for my ignorance here. (I am a Trigeminal Neurolgia survivor in the face. I had a massive Ritzotomy in the brain) But are you sure it is TN? What you all have is surely real. I was under the suggestion TN was only with the 3 branches in your face. The nerve is hitting against a blood vessel ..

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@lorimar89 What a relief it must be to have a diagnosis. Were you prescribed anything for the pain? I’m glad to hear that they are monitoring the path and taking care about your eye.

Here’s some information about shingles in case you’d like to read more. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/basics/definition/con-20019574

Let us know how your appointment goes on Tuesday.

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@colleenyoung

@lorimar89 What a relief it must be to have a diagnosis. Were you prescribed anything for the pain? I’m glad to hear that they are monitoring the path and taking care about your eye.

Here’s some information about shingles in case you’d like to read more. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/basics/definition/con-20019574

Let us know how your appointment goes on Tuesday.

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I’m tagging @scohen0 on this discussion thread. He writes about having a second bout of shingles in his left eye in this discussion thread https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/im-dealing-with-my-second-bout-with-shingles-in-my-left-eye/ Maybe he would have something to add to this discussion.

Colleen
Connect Community Director

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@colleenyoung

@lorimar89 What a relief it must be to have a diagnosis. Were you prescribed anything for the pain? I’m glad to hear that they are monitoring the path and taking care about your eye.

Here’s some information about shingles in case you’d like to read more. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/basics/definition/con-20019574

Let us know how your appointment goes on Tuesday.

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They gave me percocet. I also AM taking ibuprofen. It’s much better today. Getting a jump on it quickly was key! Again, I go back to the doctor on Tuesday so they can take a look at the progression or lack thereof.

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My wife has the same and odd symptoms, she is also seeing a doctor for this whom claims its just headaches….but they are getting more intense…..there’s an explosion that goes off like a gun shot, and red liquid type will go over her eyes. No doctors believe her, even with the test, everything comes back normal.She even have a numbness behind right ear that if she touches it, feels like she is touching her brain, also if she scratches behind her left ear, she gets a pinching between her first two fingers on her left hand that drives her nuts. Before she can even scratch that part of her head she has me or her daughter to put pressure between those two fingers to stop the pitching. She has no idea what’s going on, but she does know headaches are and this isn’t it.
Can anyone help us here, and who to see.

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@david33

My wife has the same and odd symptoms, she is also seeing a doctor for this whom claims its just headaches….but they are getting more intense…..there’s an explosion that goes off like a gun shot, and red liquid type will go over her eyes. No doctors believe her, even with the test, everything comes back normal.She even have a numbness behind right ear that if she touches it, feels like she is touching her brain, also if she scratches behind her left ear, she gets a pinching between her first two fingers on her left hand that drives her nuts. Before she can even scratch that part of her head she has me or her daughter to put pressure between those two fingers to stop the pitching. She has no idea what’s going on, but she does know headaches are and this isn’t it.
Can anyone help us here, and who to see.

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Are you seeing a neurologist?

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