These are questions with answers that are most commonly asked. Many of these questions have been submitted through to and answered by Dr Simcock, a neurologist and the Neurological Foundation’s Medical Advisor.

  • I get sharp stabs of pain in different places over my head at different times. My GP calls them ice-pick pains. What causes them?

    The cause of ice-pick pains is not known. They occur more frequently in people with migraine but they do not occur at the same time as the migraine headache. Usually, they are a nuisance and do not require treatment.

  • I had Guilliam barre syndrome two years ago. Should I get the flu injection?

    Most neurological disorders (stroke Pakinson''s disease, epilepsy, migraine) are not caused by an immune reaction in the nervous system so there is no problem with immunisations in these conditions. A few neurological disorders, including GBS, result from an abmormality of the immune system. Even in theses disorders, it is unlikely that the flu injection will cause any problems or flare-up of the disorder but it is best to discuss this with your neurologist.

  • I have been told Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an X-linked disorder. What does this mean?

    The dystrophy is caused by an abnormal gene on the X chromosome. Males have on X and one Y chromosome, so that if the X chromosome is abnormal, then he will develop the dystrophy. In contrast, females have two X chromosomes, and if one of them is abnormal, then she will not show signs of dystrophy, but will be a carrier. For a carrier, each of her sons will have a 50% chance of inheriting the abnormal gene and be affected, while each daughter will have a 50% chance of being a carrier.

  • I have had 11 Ocular Migraines in a month.Never had so many in one period.Would Betaloc CR47.5 make it worse?

    I would not expect Betaloc to exacerbate ocular migraine. Ocular migraine is rare, with symptoms being caused by dysfunction of one or other retina. More commonly, visual symptoms are caused by changes in the visual cortex of the brain. Ater the menopause, the visual symptoms (sometimes referred to as an aura) can become more frequent but the headache often becomes less severe. Sometimes, hypertension can exacerbate the visual symptoms.

    A cacium-channel blocker such as Verapamil is used in some patients.

  • I have had migraine for many years but in the last year I have been getting stabbing pains in different parts of my head which worry me. Do I need to have a head scan?

    You are probably having so-called ice-pick pains, which occur particulary in people who have migraine but not at the same time as the migraine headaches. The sharp stabs of pain can be felt in different places at different times and occur for no good reason. They do not indicate any problem inside your head and you do not need a head scan. Usually no treatment is required for this sort of head pain