Could this occasional stabbing pain in my head be a precursor to stroke?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Occasionally, I will have a sharp stabbing head pain on my left side. My husband thinks they could be precursors to a stroke. It does not happen very often and never lasts for more than a few seconds. Can I put his mind at ease and let him know that the stabbing pain in my head does not signify stroke?

Expert Answer

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

This does not sound like a precursor to a stroke.  It sounds more like an "ice pick headache".  They usually respond well to medications.

I would suggest being evaluated by a Neurologist.  An evaluation, and treatment, might shed light on the cause and help alleviate these spells.  Also, if it would set your mind at ease, a head scan could be obtained to make sure there is no stroke risk.