"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?

@rebe

You perfectly described the pain that I experience in my scalp … electric bolt, jarring, like an electric prod. With no forewarning this pain zaps my scalp. It lasts about 1 to 2 seconds. I involuntarily yelp, grimace and jump … it takes my breath away. Thank goodness the bolts of electricty don't last any longer than a second because I could not bear it. After the "zap" is gone it takes a moment to compose myself and then it happens again. Sometimes 3 times a minute. I will go months without having to deal with this pain …. however it always returns with the same frequency & strength. I wonder if a virus has set up "residency" in a nerve root in my scalp. i.e. epstein barr from mono or herpes from shingles (however the shingles virus attacked my nerve coming from the lumbar region and left me with post-hepatic neuralgia running down my leg). This scalp pain is not from the trigeminal nerve in that my face is not affected …rather the pain is felt in the crown of my scalp & runs down the back of my head. I wonder if prednisone would provide any relief. It's hard to sleep when this pain keeps me wide awake. Please… any suggestions? As soon as I finish this paragraph, I will try ice ?? Maybe some relief?

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Over 24 hours and still pain-free with not one zap. Scalp is still tender but over the years, I have grown accustomed to that tenderness … Bottom line … I am not experiencing ANY electrical bolts in my scalp. Wonder if the ice pack and prednisone addressed this issue or just coincidence??

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@rebe glad your better who knows ice works wonders but your result counts.

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Hi.

I found this discussion by searching online for my symptoms. I currently suffer from these Zap / electric shock style pains a few times a year.
In the last month I have had these periods twice. I am currently in the middle of one of these episodes and its driving me crazy.
I seem to always get it on the top of my head at the back. It often moves behind the ear but mostly on top of the head.
I always thought it was down to tiredness as sometimes it would go away if I had a good long sleep.
The Zaps are bearable but can be annoying sometimes. I have had this for around 5 years or so. I had a sinus infection recently and wondered had that brought it on.
I was wondering how @rebe feels now? has the Zaps stopped since you tried the ice pack and one 20mg prednisone tablet?

Any information would be appreciated.

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Sounds like some type of facial neuralgia, the facial pain network site has information regarding the different types of neuralgia, causes etc… It may be something else but symptoms sound very familiar… Correct diagnosis is key to treatment.

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@rebe

You perfectly described the pain that I experience in my scalp … electric bolt, jarring, like an electric prod. With no forewarning this pain zaps my scalp. It lasts about 1 to 2 seconds. I involuntarily yelp, grimace and jump … it takes my breath away. Thank goodness the bolts of electricty don't last any longer than a second because I could not bear it. After the "zap" is gone it takes a moment to compose myself and then it happens again. Sometimes 3 times a minute. I will go months without having to deal with this pain …. however it always returns with the same frequency & strength. I wonder if a virus has set up "residency" in a nerve root in my scalp. i.e. epstein barr from mono or herpes from shingles (however the shingles virus attacked my nerve coming from the lumbar region and left me with post-hepatic neuralgia running down my leg). This scalp pain is not from the trigeminal nerve in that my face is not affected …rather the pain is felt in the crown of my scalp & runs down the back of my head. I wonder if prednisone would provide any relief. It's hard to sleep when this pain keeps me wide awake. Please… any suggestions? As soon as I finish this paragraph, I will try ice ?? Maybe some relief?

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The electrical zaps came back for a period of one hour on 3/20/18. I immediately took 2 prednizones and the zaps disappeared within the hour and have not returned. I do believe that the prednizone stops the electrical zaps to my head based on the results from these 2 occasions (when in the past I could not find any relief for weeks). As mentioned in my earlier posts, methylprednizone had earlier been prescribed to address sciatic nerve pain and to address nerve damage from a slipped disk in my neck … plus post-hepatic nerve damage from shingles. All three of these occurrences (which occurred in a time span of 5+ years) dealt with nerve inflammation and the prednizone successsfully eliminated the pain. I realize that each of our cases are very individualized but i hope that this information might help at least one person find relief.

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This my first time on this site and am sure it won't be my last! Three days ago I started experiencing sharp pains in one ear. They felt like intense electrical shocks. They occurred when I was sitting down inside the house and then lying down in bed. I can see how wind might cause this because wind has bothered me in the past but never with pain like I've been experiencing. I decided to consult an otolaryngologist this morning and she was baffled. She said there was no sign of an infectiion and that she was hesitant to prescribe something for trigemial neurolgia as it has serious side effects. I told her that the pain reminded me of shocks that I feel in a spot in my arm occasionally for no reason other than having received an injection in that area in 2005—-as if the site has nerve memory or something similiar. (Although she did not react to my statement, I'm pretty sure the doc thought I was nuts.) I told the doctor that I would take some over the counter meds and also keep a log of future shocks and return to her if necessary. Meanwhile, I'm trying to find out on my own what in the world is going on. I am completely up-to-date with dental work but wonder if I could have an undetected infection.

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This condition is known as "Allodynia," and is well described and discussed in a great article (2016) by the head of neurology at the Univ. of Toledo, Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, M.D It results from central sensitization of nerve fibers within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) rather than peripheral neurons, and they become hyiperexcitable. About 80% of persons suffering from migraines experience allodynia at some place on the body. The sensation of inappropriate pain may result from various kinds of stimuli, such as dynamic allodynia from brushing the hair or shaving, thermal allodynia from warm or cold exposure, etc. The severity varies widely from person to person. Women suffer from the condition more than men. Obesity and smoking also predispose one to occurances of this condition. She discusses several drugs which may be useful in preventing and/or treating this debilitating and painful condition. Best wishes from Oklahoma, Loren Martin, PhD, emeritus professor of medical physiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa

Shared files

Allodynia_ When Touch Hurts But Shouldn’t - Understanding Migraine (Allodynia_-When-Touch-Hurts-But-Shouldn’t-Understanding-Migraine.pdf)

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@megamom

I am just getting over some crud and it seems anytime I get a fever over 100 I can expect this head pain to occur, either that day or soon. So it has to have something to do with inflamation or viral. Little devils shooting lightening bolts at my head. I have had these so many years I don’t expect anyone is going to be able to help up, if they even believe or listen to us, but strangely it feels better knowing I am not the only one who has these. For those just starting with these pains, I am 62 and they haven’t killed me yet and I have had them off and on for as long as I can remember, hang in there,

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Hi I am certain your pain is from an inflamed /compressed Occipital nerve and not Trigeminal Neuralgia which causes pain on side of head/face. If you press on the area at the base of your scalp there are a bones called the occipital condyles . Press this area between the condyle and cervical vertebrate you should have a feeling of pain/pressure then you know this is your problem. The neck muscles are attached to the condyles and the occipital nerves runs through them. believe the nerve gets trapped between Cervical vertebrate and the Occipital bone causing the pain. I have had the same electrical zaps for years if I turn my head the wrong way so I decided to rbuprofen and a chiropractor to reduce inflammation and chiropractor to release trapped nerve. I suggest a massage esp. Your neck and scalp before chiropractor so you don't and up with a pulled neck muscle. Im sure this will help you!

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Thx

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@normasmith381

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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Sounds exactly what I have @normasmith381
I think it's always at the back of my head and when it happens I rub it, it hurts!
I asked the neuro but he had no idea. No friends/family I've told this to seems to have had this either.
Anyway, it happens every 4-6 months-ish.
Wish I could figure out what it is? Should we be worried?
Let me know if you found anything out!

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I have this and know what it is!! It's when you catch a cold draft on your head! My mom had it and so do I. I can get this from air conditioning blowing on me or just the car window draft hitting my head or sweating on my scalp in winter. Usually 1/2 an ibuprofen will calm it down until it's over in a couple of days. I have also helped make it feel better by using a warm hairdryer on it when it's really flaring up. I'm so glad I found this forum because I had no idea others were getting this too! Hope this helps!!

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I have the same thing, I was diagnosed with Trigeminal neuralgia…
Also look up occipital neuralgia..
Mine is atypical.. and it's hard to treat…
Look on fb for support groups. As best of luck.

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@3michele3

I have this and know what it is!! It's when you catch a cold draft on your head! My mom had it and so do I. I can get this from air conditioning blowing on me or just the car window draft hitting my head or sweating on my scalp in winter. Usually 1/2 an ibuprofen will calm it down until it's over in a couple of days. I have also helped make it feel better by using a warm hairdryer on it when it's really flaring up. I'm so glad I found this forum because I had no idea others were getting this too! Hope this helps!!

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Welcome to Connect, @3michele3 . I'm glad you found this forum too. We look forward to getting to know you. Have you ever received a diagnosis for the "electric" type shock you feel?

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@simplyxxamazing

I have the same thing, I was diagnosed with Trigeminal neuralgia…
Also look up occipital neuralgia..
Mine is atypical.. and it's hard to treat…
Look on fb for support groups. As best of luck.

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Hi @simplyxxamazing, I invite you to join the trigeminal neuralgia and occipital neuralgia discussions on Connect here:
– Trigeminal Neuralgia* https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/trigeminal-neuralgia-2273cc/
– Occipital Neuralgia and Basilar Migraines https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/occipital-neuralgia-and-basilar-migraines/

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