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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Shock/Sharp pain left side of occipital bone

 Mattbru - Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:11 pm

Hi. first of all im a 19 year old male. The pain I am having recently started 3 days ago, it feels like a sharp shock like pain in the back of my head(left side) that doesnt last more then 1 to 2 seconds. This pain usually happen 7-15 times throughout a day, and seems to be caused by me turning my head or any kind of motion involving my head. I'm just wondering if anyone has an idea on what the cause of this can be. I don't seem to have any other symptoms beside this sharp pain which sometimes feels like a shock.

Any ideas??
Sound like something I should go see my doctor ASAP?

 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:30 pm

User avatar Hello -

What you seem to be describing is a very common, extremely startling and painful phenomenon in which some of the lesser branches of a cranial nerve are somehow pulled, plucked or otherwise disturbed just momentarily by movement of the head. I'm quite certain there's a clinical term for this, as just about everyone I know has experienced it at least once and sometimes frequently, but I've yet to have a chance to finish a conversation with a neurologist who could explain precisely what this is. The good news is, so far as I'm aware, it causes no problem beyond the momentary stun it delivers (almost like being tasered in the base of the neck when turning the head). You are having it happen a lot more often then most people describe (which is very rarely or just once in a while) so you may have a misalignment of the first cervical vertibra, which helps connect the spinal column to the head and is usually where these sensations originate (even in anatomy class the doctor described the sensation but couldn't name it).

Since you're having this happen several times per day and that seems excessive and more than average, you may require a neurological workup to find out why it's happening so often and perhaps be referred to physical therapy or given some exercises to help correct it. I believe in some people this problem may be related to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease, which involves misalignment of the jaw and bite.

Normally I would advise looking past this problem, but because yours is so persistent I feel you should be seen with an eye toward a neurology consult. You may have something out of alignment or may have inadvertantly injured something back there that accounts for the remarkable frequency of this. Meanwhile, for the sake of your own comfort, try to be aware of how you move your head, and also take note of any particular maneuvers which may cause the sensation. You can then pass this information along to your doctor.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you with this and please follow up with us as needed.

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