Severe sudden pain in head

The last few days I've been getting these very sharp sudden stabbing like pains in my head, mainly the top of my right head and into the back of my eye.

I suffer badly with migraines and they are pretty well controlled st the moment with daily beta blockers.

These pains are very sudden and really painful, yesterday they happened just a couple of times randomly then last night I had a few at one time.

Has anyone had this? After last night attack I even asked my partner if my right cheek looked ok cos it felt bit odd.

Prob nothing to worry about but still getting it today it just stops me in my tracks suddenly


28 Replies

  • Hi

    I see you have both lupus and APS. I have APS and lupus like syndrome. I have had the sudden onset pains in my head. It usually happens when my INR is low and after activity. Are you on warfarin?

    Mine was not properly diagnosed but dr just says 'oh that'll be spasms in your head' As if it was nothing!!

    If this is a new symptom you need to speak to your specialist or go to a&e (says me who never either!).

    Take car x

  • No I'm on clopidogrel, used to be on aspirin. I think I've had them previously but this is pretty intense when it comes.

    I have suffered previously with occipital neuralgia but that's usually in back of head. When I press top of my right eye it hurts.

    I do have a lot of pain in upper back at mo so maybe it's worse cos of that??

    Wanted to make sure it wasn't something bad and i did think last night oh no is this gonna be an a&e trip! The last time I got sent with a suspected PE by gp I waited 2 hrs for triage with chest pain!! Luckily (for them!) I was fine!

    It's just worrying every little pain in the head!

  • H Sarah - If the stabbing is in your actual eye rather than in your head/temple then its idiopathic stabbing headache which feels as if someone has stuck a finger or something sharp in your eye. It goes along with migraine but you don't have to have one when you get it. I get these.

    Id check that your anticoagulation is where it should be and if it is then perhaps if the stabbing continues see your Dr. You may need a change in migraine medication.

  • It's thru the top of my head and a bit in the side of my head but it comes on very suddenly thru the top of my head ending in the back of my eye.

  • I still think it sounds like the stabbing headache but if it continues see your Dr.


  • That's great thanks, I had read about that earlier and yes think it very much sounds like that.

    I have a lot of pain in my muscles in upper back at mo too so about to take some morphine (once I've got the kids to bed!) to top up my zomorph for that! Which prob isn't helping my head!


  • Morphine is good for acute pain and should be used short term to avoid addiction. I would have thought that if this continues you would be better off being referred to a headache specialist who will be able to prescribe a more reliable medication. I found Topiramate very good personally. That together with proper anticoagulation should stabilise these pains.

  • The zomorph and morphine isn't for the headaches it's for my joint pain. I can't take anti inflammatory drugs.

    I always used to be under a neurologist for the headaches but since moving 6 yrs ago the new rheum lupus specialist has just seemed to deal with everything himself?

  • I think a targeted migraine medication will be more appropriate for you.

  • What anticoagulation drug are you using for your HS/APS? How long time do those horrible sudden pain in your head take?

    I wonder if it could be too low anticoagulation as you also felt odd in your cheeks?

    Best wishes from Kerstin in Stockholm

  • I'm only on clopidogrel and before this aspirin.

    I've never had a clot or anything.

    The pains only last a few seconds.

  • I get these pains in the eye too. I'm diagnosed with APS only (no Lupus is what I'm getting at). They come and go very quickly as you say.

    I replied initially thinking you were having Thunderclap headaches which I experienced for a while. I too get frequent migraines and these are a very severe sudden onset migraine. Seems like you are talking about something else, though.

    With the headache in the eye - I give it a few minutes - if it is still there I neck a couple of Paracetamol and 100mg of Sumatriptan (for migraines) and it usually goes away pretty quick.

    Brack (UK)

  • Hi BrackHammers,

    I hope you have got a Specialist for your HS/APS and are well and stable anticoagulated.

    What anticoagulation are you on at present?

    Best wishes from Kerstin in Stockholm

  • Hi again,

    You know very well that I am not a Doctor but I wonder if your anticoagulation is on top.

    As I have learnt here Clopidogrel and Aspirin are tried first before you start a real Anticoagulation-drug like LMW Heparin or Warfarin.

    Before I started Warfarin I often had that stabbing pain in the head for some seconds. I also had other neurological symptoms though.They disappeared when I was well and stable anticoagulated with Warfarin.

    So if I were in your shoes I would ask for a trial of LMW Heparin for some time to see if you need anticoagulation which I believe you do.

    Best wishes from Kerstin in Stockholm

  • How do they know if I need anticoagulation?? This is what I worry about how do they know that my blood is ok?

  • Sarah, if you have not had any clots then the decision to advance anticoagulation would be done on your symptoms. Many Doctors will be adamant that nothing stronger, like oral anticoagulants are used. However thats when risk versus balance comes in. If your life becomes intolerable and quality of life is threatened and symptoms start to look like your having warnings of a bigger clotting incident, like a TIA, the a short trial of LMWH can be useful to see if it helps to improve symptoms. If it does then the path is clear to use that or warfarin as a future treatment option.

    If the only symptoms are headaches, then its possible that focusing on what type of headache you are suffering from (as their are many) and then use more targeted medications known to have beneficial affects on that particular pain, would be a better pathway. Just one note, reading a paper this morning on the different make up of medications there was an interesting focus on Clopidogrel. Apparently there are three different kinds of pharmaceutical salts used by different pharmaceutical companies, so depending on the generic you are given, its possible that they have a different make up and apparently according to this paper different results on how they work. Perhaps look into that to see if you are being given different types and ask your pharmacist to only prescribe the one that does not give you these symptoms as different generics may not be working on you as well as each other.

  • You have got a real good answer from APsnotFab who know very well what migraine and headache means from own experiece.

    This illness is strange i many ways. You also have Lupus which I know very little about. What is important is your symptoms as APsnotFab says also. Are you diagnosed by antibodies for this illness or only on symptoms? On symptoms, did yo have other neorological symptoms than stabbing headache at that time also?How is it now?

    I had doubleseeing, could not see on one eye for a couple of minutes, bad vertigo as I had to hold on to a tree not to fall, as the environment was spinning to the left. Took some minutes and also sometimes stabbing headache. I did not have Lupus when this happened but I am triple-positive with high titres since 2002.


  • I am triple positive aps antibodies and quite high in a couple or one at least. I have memory issues generally and fog and major fatigue. The stabbing pains only last seconds so not able to take any pain relief for it.

    Typically I've just seen my consultant last week, this always happens when I've seen him something happens!

  • Hi Sara,

    I think you need better anticoagulation and I think you should talk to your Specialist about it. He is responsible for you if you get a severe TIA or a stroke.


  • Beore I was diagnosed, I experienced pains similar to what you describe fairly often. These were accompanied by random but profound fear so I called them "panic attacks." Aware that some of these symptoms could indicate a stroke I would (without telling anyone who might be near why I was doing this -- didn't want to attract atttention or worry anyone -- stand, close my eyes, touch one finger to my nose, then a finger on the opposite hand, bring those 2 index fingers together in front, balance on one leg, then the other. Check. Can do all, therfore not a stroke. Good.

    Exfcept . .. the final "panic attack" which lead to a diagnosis was identified as a stroke because I was with someone who was watching me closely. I had an exaggerated limp, my speech was slurry and had total left side paralysis --- AND DID NOT REALIZE ANY OF THIS! though I was fully awake and conscious.

    Turns out -- a stroke, or any impairment to the brain, is such an existential crisis that the brain will lie to itself about impairment. That is certainly what my brain was doing. Next time (or every time) you have one of these events make sure your partner or whoever might be near, checks to see if your face is symmmetrical, and if you try the above activities I was used to reassure myself I was not having a stroke, make sure you have an audience!

    And if you flunk these tests, time for the Emergency Room! ASAP! And we always hope such symptoms resolve quickly, but the problem is -- if they do resolve before a medical professional documents them, then you may be dismissed as a "nut case." (Happened to me. Twice.) So, if possible, try to find a way for your stroke symptoms "moniter" to accompany you or send text or phone # to give your story some traction. (If your face is droopy, take a selfie if possible. Or better yet, a video of a limpy walk.)

  • Hi there, if this is a new symptom, you must check in with your GP and or main consultant. I used to have this regularly before I had Aspirin and calmed down my various other conditions. I hope you get to the bottom of it and sort it quickly. MaryF

  • I would encourage you to go to your doctor with these symptoms. You are clearly and understandably concerned, therefore to ease your mind, go to your GP. If necessary, your GP can speak to your consultant.

    With good wishes.


  • Yeah, I might do I just think they think u are a hypochondriac and they just say 'well I think u have enough going on so let's not add anything else in!'

    I will see how I go with it, if it continues or get worse will get checked out. It's not been so bad today fingers crossed!

    U just kind of wonder what exactly can be causing such severe pain like that. I think it's just down to my conditions and my general type headache/head pains!

    Thanks all for ur replies and I feel better knowing it's not just me!

  • Hi sara ,have i got this right that you live in scarborough?which consultant do you see? I must admit being triple positive should at least warrant a heparin trial ,i haven't had a clot but have very high antibodies therefore on tinzaparin injections feeling much better. Elfie

  • Yes I'm in Scarborough, I see a lupus specialist in Middlesbrough at James cook I dont go to SGH.

    What about you?? Do u see an aps specialist or just a rheum?

  • Hi sara,yes i go to Leeds (chapel allerton hosp.) i see prof. Emery who is a specialist in APS. Have you got a specialist nurse you can ring? If i were you i would ring them and explain your headaches and ask if you can have a heparin trial ,if that fails ask to be referred to leeds. I certainly have no complaints about my treatment. Remember its your health and you need to be proactive.Nobody will think youre a hopochondriac .all the best Elfie .

  • Typically I've just seen the cons last wk! Am seeing him again in December. We have discussed a heparin trial before for my normal headaches but they calmed down with increasing my beta blocker dose slightly. I will def keep an eye on it and ring the nurse helpline thanks x

    Hope all ok with u!

  • Good i hope you get sorted nothing worse than headaches all the time. I'm ok just totally shatterd had visitors for a few days didnt like to say no to going out every day you know how it is they look forward to coming to the seaside so youve got to make an effort . wish you all the best .Elfie

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