"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.

Hi @deby I think u have described my symptoms I to have a stick electric shock all over my body an itch-lik..makes me want to scratch..Wow! I have been taking Hydroxyzine Hcl tabs 25mg..Mine started after chemo and Radation I would say..I can’t say it help tho..I wonder what is it?

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This sounds like You are having Ice Pick Headaches…so named because it feels like someone is poking your head with an ice pick. I feel your pain!! I was plaqued with these for many years. Treated initially with neurontin by my Neurologist but it didn’t seem to help, even with increasing the dose the stabbing pains continued. I was than referred to a Mayo Clinic Neurologist, Dr Julie Hammack..took me off the Neurontin and tried indomethacin which worked but dropped my blood pressure too low and finally settled on Verapamil which also worked well. I was told they may just go away as quickly as they came on…and was instructed that after no episodes in a 6 month timeframe I could try weaning off the medication and I did successfully!! It really is a weird phenomenon….good luck and I hope this helps!

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I have this! exactly as you describe it, as well. Have you found the cause or a solution yet? I suspect it has something to do with my ear or the nerves in my neck but I’m no doctor. I’m about three days into my current episode and I’m so annoyed already, I can’t wait for it to stop.

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Hi @genzel, welcome to Connect. I am glad you found a conversation and other members experiencing symptoms similar to your own.

While we wait for other members to weigh in, would you mind sharing a bit more about yourself and your experiences? Have you discussed these symptoms with your medical provider? What are you currently doing to manage the symptoms other than waiting it out?

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Hi, I am 62 years old and have had headaches like this since as long as I can remember. I alway called them my cattle prod head pain. Out of no where I would get a jolt of pain in my head. When I have an attack it will last any where from a dozen and then gone to days of recurrent zaps on the side of my head maybe dozens of times a minute. My head will be so sensitive I can’t comb my hair over the spot for fear of triggering another jolt and because of residual pain. With bad attacks I get nauseated after a couple of hours but it is probably just the stress and pain. This can be on either side of my head but I have never had bilateral headaches like this. It actually sounds like a zap in my ears also.
I have said if these were a constant head pain you would not be able to stand the pain. It is that intense, but that quick. No doctor has ever been able to tell me what these are and I sometimes feel they don’t believe but it is real and horrible and I thank God comes and goes.
This week I am experiencing several of the attacks. I recently had a steroid shot in my hip so don’t know if that triggered it. I have never found anything that helps either. I am somewhat relieved, but sorry for you all that others know exactly what I am talking about and have the same thing.

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@megamom

Hi, I am 62 years old and have had headaches like this since as long as I can remember. I alway called them my cattle prod head pain. Out of no where I would get a jolt of pain in my head. When I have an attack it will last any where from a dozen and then gone to days of recurrent zaps on the side of my head maybe dozens of times a minute. My head will be so sensitive I can’t comb my hair over the spot for fear of triggering another jolt and because of residual pain. With bad attacks I get nauseated after a couple of hours but it is probably just the stress and pain. This can be on either side of my head but I have never had bilateral headaches like this. It actually sounds like a zap in my ears also.
I have said if these were a constant head pain you would not be able to stand the pain. It is that intense, but that quick. No doctor has ever been able to tell me what these are and I sometimes feel they don’t believe but it is real and horrible and I thank God comes and goes.
This week I am experiencing several of the attacks. I recently had a steroid shot in my hip so don’t know if that triggered it. I have never found anything that helps either. I am somewhat relieved, but sorry for you all that others know exactly what I am talking about and have the same thing.

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Hi @megamom Welcome to Connect! It helps to know that others are going through similar things as us. For me personally, it confirmed that my pain was not, pardon the pun, ‘in my head’. I have had what I call a hypersensitivity at times when I would wash my face, but it really is painful. You mention that you have seen doctors have not been able to give you a diagnosis for this awful pain. Have you seen a neurologist? Also, have you reported your headaches this week to the doctor who administered your steroid injection?

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Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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@trishd

Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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@trishd Hello and welcome to Mayo Connect. I’m sorry to hear of the shock-type pain you are having, this sounds very uncomfortable. Have you had any other symptoms like balance, gait or walking problems? You mentioned that your doctor said it is from nerve damage. Was this your primary care doctor making this diagnosis? What type of tests did he/she do to come to this conclusion I would suggest a second opinion with a neurologist. Keep in touch with Mayo Connect, we look forward to following your progress as you seek treatment for this uncomfortable symptom. Teresa

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@trishd

Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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Hi @trishd,
I add my welcome. You’ll notice that I moved your message to a discussion in the Chronic Pain group. If you click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification, you’ll be able scroll back through the discussion to see suggestions from other members about this type of electric shock pain. You’ll also meet members like @lorimar89 @david33 @luladavis @audrapopp @genzel @megamom and @sandytoes14.

Trish, I’m not a medical professional, but I wonder if you might be onto something with your suspicions of the chicken pox virus. @lorimar89 discovered that her pain was due to shingles. The varicella zoster virus is the same virus for shingles and for chicken pox. Have you told your doctor about your vaccination and chicken pox history?

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@trishd

Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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Hi @colleenyoung No I haven’t me mentioned it to my doctor, I really must do it. Thank you for the directions on how to navigate the discussions, I’ve only joined and it’s very confusing.. I’ll go check out the other members comments now.

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@trishd

Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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Hi @hopeful33250 Now that you mention it I have noticed that my balance is bad. I have always been a clumsy person and my balance was always off but I’ve noticed in the last year or two it seems to be worse.

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@trishd

Hi I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem as me. I get shooting pain like an electric shock it lasts for only a second or two then stops but it happens every two or three minutes. I usually know when it’s going to start as I get a tingling on my skin beforehand sort of like the tiny hairs on my face are charging then the pain starts. I can have it for up to a fee days then it stops and I may not have it again for a few months. I have heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia and what I get sounds exactly like that but the difference with mine is it’s not only on my face I get it on my scalp too and when I get really bad episodes it can affect my neck, throat, inside my nose,eyes and gums too. It’s so painful it makes me wince and shout out it’s very embarrassing. I’ve had a doctor tell me it’s from nerve damage because I was never vaccinated as a child and I’ve had chickenpox four times three times as an adult. Could this be true? Has anyone else got something similar?

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@trishd This probably should be mentioned to your doctor as well. Keep a list of questions for your next visit. Teresa

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