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What Causes Sharp Pain In The Scalp?

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Posted on Fri, 3 Nov 2017
Question: Every few minutes my 19 year old son has a sharp pain. The pain last for one half second. It feels like it's between his scalp and his scull. The area is about 2" by 2" and on the right side of his head toward the back of his head. The area feels a little warm to the touch. He did not hit his head.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Occipital neuralgia may be considered.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

The location and the characteristics of the pain you describe do not suggest any serious issue, certainly not the case of a brain lesion. One possibility to explain it would be occipital neuralgia, irritation of the occipital nerve which supplies sensation for that area, which may produce such short lasting pains as you describe.
However, that is more common in older individuals who have chronic changes of the spine which lead to irritation of the nerve, less likely in a 19-year-old individual. So perhaps a psychological component should be considered as well, which may cause muscle tension and spasms and produce such pain as is described.
For the moment I wouldn’t add any medication apart from the occasional over the counter pain killer such as Ibuprofen if really bothering. If persisting in time (it is unclear how long this has been going on for) then imaging of the head and neck and medication with neuropathic pain medication such as Gabapentin might be considered.

I remain at your disposal for other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What Causes Sharp Pain In The Scalp?

Brief Answer: Occipital neuralgia may be considered. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. The location and the characteristics of the pain you describe do not suggest any serious issue, certainly not the case of a brain lesion. One possibility to explain it would be occipital neuralgia, irritation of the occipital nerve which supplies sensation for that area, which may produce such short lasting pains as you describe. However, that is more common in older individuals who have chronic changes of the spine which lead to irritation of the nerve, less likely in a 19-year-old individual. So perhaps a psychological component should be considered as well, which may cause muscle tension and spasms and produce such pain as is described. For the moment I wouldn’t add any medication apart from the occasional over the counter pain killer such as Ibuprofen if really bothering. If persisting in time (it is unclear how long this has been going on for) then imaging of the head and neck and medication with neuropathic pain medication such as Gabapentin might be considered. I remain at your disposal for other questions