What Can Cause Sudden, Severe and Sharp Pain in the Head?

A sudden, severe and sharp pain in the head may simply be a common headache or migraine; however, it could also be a sign of a more serious condition. Sudden severe headaches are linked with symptoms associated with stroke, meningitis, elevated blood pressure and other serious health problems, according to Malinda Gibbons-Gwyn for Everyday Health.

The key thing when dealing with a sudden, severe head pain is to be able to distinguish between a headache/migraine and a more serious condition. If experiencing systemic symptoms such as fever or loss of appetite in addition to head pain, call a doctor immediately, recommends Gibbons-Gwyn. If experiencing neurological symptoms such as blurry vision; personality changes; weakness or numbness in a certain part of the body; or sharp facial pain, seek help immediately.

A painful head pain may be a precursor to a stroke. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a known sign of a stroke is a sudden headache with no obvious cause, explains Gibbons-Gwyn. Other symptoms of a stroke include sudden weakness or numbness, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, loss of vision or blurry vision and sudden dizziness or loss of balance. Most headaches are not serious and go away with time, but it is very important to be cautious and recognize the signs of a more serious medical health problem. Sudden onset of head pain can also occur when there is bleeding within the brain. If a person is older than 50, it is possible for a new or progressive headache to be the result of giant cell arthritis or a brain tumor. Other notable serious causes of head pain are stiff neck, fever, rash and elevated blood pressure.