Extratrigeminal Ice-Pick Status


Dr. Isabel Pavão Martins, Centro de Estudos Egas Moniz, Hospital de Sta Maria, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal.


We describe six patients with an identical type of headache, consisting of short episodes (lasting around 1 week) of daily attacks of ice-pick-like pain, recurring every minute in the same points of the scalp. In all of them, the pain was felt outside the cutaneous area of the trigeminal nerve (retroauricular, parietal, and occipital regions). All patients were examined in the emergency department of a general hospital over a period of 7 years because of these acute headaches. None of them had a history of migraine.

Although this pain is identical to idiopathic stabbing headache, it differs from it by its temporal profile (in “status”), its posterior (extratrigeminal) location, and its lack of association with migraine. While the bouts were usually severe and recurred in two patients, all had a self-limited benign course and responded promptly to indomethacin.