Ophthalmodynia Periodica – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Ice Pick Headache is the common name for Ophthalmodynia Periodica. It is named so, as it is the best way to describe the headache we get while suffering from Ophthalmodynia Periodica. So if you feel like someone is stabbing your face with an ice pick then you are probably suffering from an ice pick headache. In this case, you might feel jolts of severe pain around your eyes and the temple area of your face. They typically last for a minute. They may occur several times a day in different areas of your head.

Ice pick headaches have many other names like a needle in the eye syndrome, primary stabbing headaches, idiopathic stabbing headaches, short-lived head pain syndrome, jabs, and jolts, etc. People who are having migraine and cluster headaches are more prone to the ice pick headaches. But, in general, people who do not have them can also suffer from this syndrome. It is predominantly found in people between the ages of 45 and 50. You can sometimes notice that ice pick headaches can occur even when you sleep.

Headaches Causes :

The underlying cause of ice pick headaches is not yet known. But doctors are certain that it is not due to an injury or disease. It might be due to short term disruptions of the mechanism in which the brain sends the emotion of pain to your body. Ice pick headaches occur in two forms- primary and secondary. The primary ice pick headache does not need any reason to show up. Whereas, the secondary headache can be observed in people suffering from conditions such as Bell’s palsy and shingles (or herpes zoster). Women who are over 28 are more prone to ice pick headaches. Ice pick headaches can be triggered by the following.

  • Stress
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Alcohol, mainly red wine
  • Hormonal changes
  • Sudden movements
  • Food additives
  • Bright light

Symptoms :

  • Sudden stabbing pain the head lasting for 5-10 seconds
  • Moderately severe to extremely painful stabbing in the head
  • Stabs occurring at least 50 times in a day
  • Pain on the sides and top portion of your forehead
  • Stabs occur one at a time in several areas of your head
  • Waves of stabs that last for several hours, occurring multiple times.
  • Stabs that occur without any signs of warning.

Treatment :

You can use pain reducing medication if you get frequent ice pick headaches. They do not give enough time to take medicine in many cases so if you feel the stabs rarely then there is no need to take medicine.

More Treatments and Cure: Health Doctoring

To make sure of their frequency, you can keep a diary and note down the details whenever you get an ice pick headache. You can also note it down in your mobile by downloading an app. So the next time you consult a doctor, he will be certain before prescribing your medicine and dosage.

If you figure out that your ice pick headache is due to stress, it would be easy to manage the next time you feel stressed. Practice simple methods like acupuncture, meditation or yoga.

Your doctor can prescribe drugs like indomethacin, melatonin or gabapentin. You can get melatonin from the medical store even without a prescription, as it is a hormone that reduces headaches and insomnia. But the other two drugs indomethacin, which is an anti-inflammatory drug that treats headache and gabapentin, that treats nerve pain will be available only with a prescription.

Ice pick headache, despite their severity, are not harmful or dangerous unless and until they interfere with your daily life. If they are making you lose focus on your daily activities then you should probably consult a doctor and get your tests done as it might have serious consequences if ignored for long periods.

Leave a Comment