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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Shooting Pain in the Head: Here are the Common Causes

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Headaches are very common. Pain experienced by those who are suffering from such can vary — from dull, sharp, throbbing, pounding, stabbing to splitting.

In this article, we will focus on headaches characterized by shooting pain, in particular its common causes.

Please be warned that none of the things you will come across below should be mistaken for professional medical advice, which is something that only a health care provider can give. If that shooting pain in your head refuses to go away or is accompanied by unusual symptoms, make sure that you pay your doctor a visit.

Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia

Doctors call this particular cause of shooting pain in the head by that tongue-twisting name. On the other hand, everybody else refers to it as brain freeze.

Brain freeze, or sometimes cold-stimulus headache, is basically your brain’s way of telling you to put the brakes on consuming something that’s ice-cold. You are likelier to experience this phenomenon the faster you consume ice cream or semi-frozen beverages. Brain freeze may last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.


If you are suffering from migraine, you will surely know about it. That’s because it usually presents itself as an intense shooting or stabbing pain on one side of the head — sometimes affecting one side after the other, too.

More often than not, migraine is preceded by what’s called an aura, which is a visual disturbance in the form of flashing lights. Other than an achy head, migraine is also usually accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light, noise and even smell.

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Tension Headache

Also sometimes known as tension-type headache, a tension headache is often caused by stress and heightened emotions. Experts believe that it’s the result of the muscles in the neck and head becoming tensed or more sensitive to pain.

Episodic and chronic — these are the main categories of a tension headache. Episodic tension headache is known to last for an hour to a week, and occurs for less than 15 days a month. Chronic tension headache, on the other hand, tends to occur for 15 or more days per month.

Cluster Headache

Many swear that the pain brought about by a cluster headache is one of the worst they have experienced in their life. It’s something that tends to appear without warning, and it’s usually felt around the eye and in the temple.

Due to the fact that the pain it causes can be quite intense, a cluster headache can leave an individual agitated. An attack can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, and may occur 1 to 8 times per day. A cluster headache is usually accompanied by sweating, runny nose and red eyes.

Occipital Neuralgia

There is a nerve that runs from the spinal cord to the scalp, and it’s referred to as the occipital nerve. Sometimes it can get irritated, inflamed or damaged, giving rise to what’s known as occipital neuralgia.

More often than not, occipital neuralgia shows up right after an injury that involves the neck or head. It may also be due to a slipped disc or any other condition that causes the occipital nerve to become compressed or pinched. In some instances, it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

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First things first: if you believe that you are suffering from a stroke, make sure that you call an ambulance or ask someone to drive you to the emergency room.

Put simply, a stroke happens when the supply of oxygenated blood to a part of the brain is cut off. Oftentimes it may present itself as a headache that’s sudden and intense. Other common signs and symptoms of a stroke include numbness or weakness in one side of the face or body, loss of balance or coordination, and trouble speaking.

Before you go, don’t forget to share this article on your various social media sites so that everyone you care about may also get acquainted with some of the reasons why they’re experiencing shooting pain in the head.

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