"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 Support Group.

@kattiedesigns

If you go to YouTube and search for “Scalp Pain? Occipital Neuralgial”, Dr K will explain how you can fix it yourself. It worked for me. I’ve had this off and on again for years and I finally found someone who can tell me what it is and how to fix it.

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Hello @kattiedesigns, Welcome to Connect, an online community where patients and caregivers share their experiences, find support and exchange information with others. Thank you for sharing your experience and what you have found helpful. I thought I would share the YouTube video for you so others can check it out.

There is also a discussion on Occipital Neuralgia here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/occipital-neuralgia/

Have you been diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia?

Scalp Pain? Electric Shock Feeling? How to Fix Occipital Neuralgia! | Dr Wil & Dr K

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Hi there, I've also been getting the same types of electrical shocks on my scalp in clusters today, plus some pain behind my left eye. I know a lot of folx have mentioned trigeminal neuralgia, but my research turned up several other possibilities including: migraine aura, occipital neuralgia, MS, certain medications/withdrawal from certain medications (especially antidepressants), excessive alcohol/drug use, B12 deficiency, cervical disc issues, gout, trauma to that area of the head, blood vessel inflammation, partial seizures, tumor, shingles, anxiety, and others, so there are a lot of other possibilities. Still a good idea to get addressed by a neurologist and get some imaging of the neck and head/brain if able! Best of luck to everyone!

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@emeraldstarr1

Hi there, I've also been getting the same types of electrical shocks on my scalp in clusters today, plus some pain behind my left eye. I know a lot of folx have mentioned trigeminal neuralgia, but my research turned up several other possibilities including: migraine aura, occipital neuralgia, MS, certain medications/withdrawal from certain medications (especially antidepressants), excessive alcohol/drug use, B12 deficiency, cervical disc issues, gout, trauma to that area of the head, blood vessel inflammation, partial seizures, tumor, shingles, anxiety, and others, so there are a lot of other possibilities. Still a good idea to get addressed by a neurologist and get some imaging of the neck and head/brain if able! Best of luck to everyone!

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Hello @emeraldstarr1 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Is this the first time you've experienced the sensations on your scalp and pain in your left eye?

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Hello –

My name is Mia. I joined this support group with hopes of finding some much needed mental relief and feedback from other people affected by TN.

I am a 58 year old female who was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia approximately 7 years ago. I didn't want to take the anti-seizure medicine they prescribed so I started acupuncture. Which for the past 7 years has worked and kept it at bay. This past June, I started experiencing powerful electric shocks in my lower right jaw area in June. I could not talk, eat, brush my teeth, drink any type of liquids (hot or cold), sneeze, cough without experiencing debilitating pain in my lower jaw area. I did not seek acupuncture treatment this time because I truly thought that it was a dental issue because it felt like the pain was originating from my lower back molar. I was able to secure an emergency dental visit a few days later. Originally the dentist diagnosed me with a gum infection (he gave me a shot to numb me because I couldn't even open my mouth to have x-rays taken without terrible pain) and prescribed an antibiotic, but wanted me to come back the following day for a procedure to remove plaque/bacteria. I went the next day and they did a gum pocket analysis and then the hygienist came in and said she was going to start my teeth cleaning. I said "I thought I was going to have a procedure to remove plaque/bacteria?" she said that's what the teeth cleaning was for. Then during my teeth cleaning, I was experiencing pain in what I thought was my back right molar. I was then told by the dentist that most likely I had a crack in my crown (even though I had a root canal done on same tooth) and it needed to be extracted. I ended up scheduling appointment with oral surgeon who took an x-ray, then told me they could not confirm that I had a crack and/or fracture because of the crown. They left the decision up to me whether or not to extract the tooth. I just started crying because I was in so much pain, afraid, and because I was at my wits end, I decided to extract the tooth. I was pain free for approximately 2 days and then on my way home the electric shocks started again. That evening I went to the ER because I couldn't take the pain anymore. They prescribed Carbamazepine. I took the medication for approximately 2 weeks but really didn't notice any change in my pain level.

Fast forward 2 months. A friend of mine shared my symptoms/story via email with a neurosurgeon who did her brain surgery a few years back. The neurosurgeon (God bless him!) actually called me directly to talk about what I've been experiencing. He pretty much said my symptoms sounded like trigeminal neuralgia but wanted me to have an MRI first. He then prescribed Gabapentin 300mg/twice a day because he said that the Carbamazepine was not a drug I should be taking with one of my heart medicines. The results of the MRI came back and they did a direct referral to another neurosurgeon who specializes in trigeminal neuralgia. My husband and I met with him and said the MRI did show that, although there is no evidence of a compressed nerve, there was a blood vessel leaning on the nerve. He went over the different surgery options but felt with my situation I was best suited for the Gamma Knife procedure. I have a consultation scheduled later this month.

I'm just going to be honest – I'm nervous about having this procedure. Today it feels like the pain (although nothing like it was) is coming from my right lower front tooth. The pain is so much more manageable since I've been on Gabapentin. I can eat, drink liquids, brush
my teeth, and talk. Right now I am struggling with:
1) How do I confirm it really isn't a dental problem? 2) Do I really need to have the Gamma Knife procedure if the medicine is working? 2) If I have the procedure, do I still have to continue taking Gabapentin? I will also ask these questions at my consultation appointment later this month.

Any feedback you can share I am so grateful. Thank you for listening to my story.

REPLY
@mia330

Hello –

My name is Mia. I joined this support group with hopes of finding some much needed mental relief and feedback from other people affected by TN.

I am a 58 year old female who was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia approximately 7 years ago. I didn't want to take the anti-seizure medicine they prescribed so I started acupuncture. Which for the past 7 years has worked and kept it at bay. This past June, I started experiencing powerful electric shocks in my lower right jaw area in June. I could not talk, eat, brush my teeth, drink any type of liquids (hot or cold), sneeze, cough without experiencing debilitating pain in my lower jaw area. I did not seek acupuncture treatment this time because I truly thought that it was a dental issue because it felt like the pain was originating from my lower back molar. I was able to secure an emergency dental visit a few days later. Originally the dentist diagnosed me with a gum infection (he gave me a shot to numb me because I couldn't even open my mouth to have x-rays taken without terrible pain) and prescribed an antibiotic, but wanted me to come back the following day for a procedure to remove plaque/bacteria. I went the next day and they did a gum pocket analysis and then the hygienist came in and said she was going to start my teeth cleaning. I said "I thought I was going to have a procedure to remove plaque/bacteria?" she said that's what the teeth cleaning was for. Then during my teeth cleaning, I was experiencing pain in what I thought was my back right molar. I was then told by the dentist that most likely I had a crack in my crown (even though I had a root canal done on same tooth) and it needed to be extracted. I ended up scheduling appointment with oral surgeon who took an x-ray, then told me they could not confirm that I had a crack and/or fracture because of the crown. They left the decision up to me whether or not to extract the tooth. I just started crying because I was in so much pain, afraid, and because I was at my wits end, I decided to extract the tooth. I was pain free for approximately 2 days and then on my way home the electric shocks started again. That evening I went to the ER because I couldn't take the pain anymore. They prescribed Carbamazepine. I took the medication for approximately 2 weeks but really didn't notice any change in my pain level.

Fast forward 2 months. A friend of mine shared my symptoms/story via email with a neurosurgeon who did her brain surgery a few years back. The neurosurgeon (God bless him!) actually called me directly to talk about what I've been experiencing. He pretty much said my symptoms sounded like trigeminal neuralgia but wanted me to have an MRI first. He then prescribed Gabapentin 300mg/twice a day because he said that the Carbamazepine was not a drug I should be taking with one of my heart medicines. The results of the MRI came back and they did a direct referral to another neurosurgeon who specializes in trigeminal neuralgia. My husband and I met with him and said the MRI did show that, although there is no evidence of a compressed nerve, there was a blood vessel leaning on the nerve. He went over the different surgery options but felt with my situation I was best suited for the Gamma Knife procedure. I have a consultation scheduled later this month.

I'm just going to be honest – I'm nervous about having this procedure. Today it feels like the pain (although nothing like it was) is coming from my right lower front tooth. The pain is so much more manageable since I've been on Gabapentin. I can eat, drink liquids, brush
my teeth, and talk. Right now I am struggling with:
1) How do I confirm it really isn't a dental problem? 2) Do I really need to have the Gamma Knife procedure if the medicine is working? 2) If I have the procedure, do I still have to continue taking Gabapentin? I will also ask these questions at my consultation appointment later this month.

Any feedback you can share I am so grateful. Thank you for listening to my story.

Jump to this post

Hello @mia330, Welcome to Connect. I think I would also be nervous about any surgery procedure and want to make sure it's really necessary before having it done. You are asking the right questions and it sounds like you have a good action plan and a list of questions for your upcoming consultation. There is a website that has some useful tips for planning your conversation before going to an appointment that you might find helpful – https://patientrevolution.org/visit-tools. It has some cards you can print out and take with you so that you are prepared and won't forget to ask your questions.

Here's a little more information about the Gamma Knife procedure you may find helpful – Brain stereotactic radiosurgery: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/brain-stereotactic-radiosurgery/about/pac-20384679

@dandl48 has discussed trigeminal neuralgia in another discussion and may have some thoughts to share with you.
Can you let us know what you decide after your consultation later this month?

REPLY
@johnbishop

Hello @mia330, Welcome to Connect. I think I would also be nervous about any surgery procedure and want to make sure it's really necessary before having it done. You are asking the right questions and it sounds like you have a good action plan and a list of questions for your upcoming consultation. There is a website that has some useful tips for planning your conversation before going to an appointment that you might find helpful – https://patientrevolution.org/visit-tools. It has some cards you can print out and take with you so that you are prepared and won't forget to ask your questions.

Here's a little more information about the Gamma Knife procedure you may find helpful – Brain stereotactic radiosurgery: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/brain-stereotactic-radiosurgery/about/pac-20384679

@dandl48 has discussed trigeminal neuralgia in another discussion and may have some thoughts to share with you.
Can you let us know what you decide after your consultation later this month?

Jump to this post

Thank you so much for your thoughts, feedback and the various links. I really appreciate it and will read them soon. I will definitely keep you posted.

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My head/scalp feel like I have a metal cap on with electricity running through ALL THE TIME….24/7
Not occasional zaps, all the time and it is awful.
Tapering off 8 weeks of Paxil
Help

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I have neuritis(sp?). Primarily in my head and face. I understand it’s a virus that lies dormant in the nerve endings. Stress causes it to flare up. Nerve pain is like exactly how you describe your lightning strike pain.

Just my share. Don’t know if that helps. Have had it for years. First discovered when I went to ER thinking I was having a stroke or ? Because the pain was so intense

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Occipital neuralgia
I suggest consulting with NUCCA chiropractor.
They're are injections that also stop that with skilled doctor.

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@emptynose

Occipital neuralgia
I suggest consulting with NUCCA chiropractor.
They're are injections that also stop that with skilled doctor.

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@emptynose

Did you have your Occipital Nerve pain before or after your nasal/sinus procedure?

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