Shooting, Sharp Stabbing Pains in the Head, Neck and Face – Anxiety Symptoms

Stabbing or shooting pains in the head, neck, and face:

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms can persistently affect one area only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over the head, neck, and face, as well as affect many areas of them over and over again.

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a shooting pain once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. They can also come in waves, where they are strong one moment and ease off the next.

These shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

What causes the shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face anxiety symptoms?

The neck, head, and face areas contain many muscle groups. Muscles respond to nerve impulses. Nerve impulses cause muscles to move by contracting and releasing them. A muscle contracts (tightens) when it receives a nerve impulse, and releases (relaxes) when the nerve impulse stops.

Anxiety causes the body to produce the stress response (also known as the fight or flight response). The stress response stresses the body, including the nervous system. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, the body can become overly stressed (stress-response hyperstimulated). A body that’s overly stressed can behave in odd and erratic ways, such as causing erratic nerve impulses that can cause muscles to tighten and spasm. Any muscle or group of muscles can be affected, including those in the head, neck, and face.

And since the head, neck, and face muscles are interconnected, shooting pains can affect any one or all of the muscles in the head, neck, and face.

Note: Some people misconstrue these sharp stabbing pains as a sign of a stroke or aneurysm. Stress and anxiety caused sharp shooting pains in the head, neck, and face are not indications of a stroke or aneurysm. They are simply the consequences of elevated stress and how the body responds to that elevated stress. Therefore, these types of symptoms needn't be a cause for concern.

How to get rid of the shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face anxiety symptoms?

Because this symptom is just a symptom of elevated stress, it needn't be a cause for concern. It will subside when you reduce your stress and give your body ample time to calm down. As your body's stress returns to a more normal level, symptoms of stress subside, including these types of anxiety symptoms. Therefore, the shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face anxiety symptoms needn't be a cause for concern.

Chapter 9 in the Recovery Support area of our website is our anxiety symptoms chapter. It contains detailed information about all anxiety symptoms, including what they are, why they occur, what you can do to eliminate them, and how many people experience them (the percentage of people who experience each anxiety symptom). We also explain healthy recovery expectations. Our anxiety symptoms chapter includes a more detailed description and explanation about the shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face anxiety symptoms.

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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated May 2015.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptoms shooting, sharp stabbing pains in the head, neck and face.