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Pressure and shockwaves in my head

(Yes, I've seen a doctor about this, and she said she's certain it's not dangerous but doesn't recognize my description of the explosions in my head (more about those below) and would give it some thought until the next time we meet for a followup in May). I'm asking if someone has had similar things, or if anyone has an idea what it could be or what I could ask the doc about, etc. Thanks for your time.

Basically, I've had a pressure feeling in my head for about 3 years now, every day, and varying in intensity during the day. It's not pain, but it's uncomfortable. When I have the pressure, I feel a bit "spaced out", kind of disassociated with reality, like I'm experiencing everything second hand. A bit like being in an underwater cinema watching what I see on the big screen. It kind of feels like I'm not getting sufficient blood flow out of part of my brain. Like a vein got a bit narrow or something.

And sometimes I suddenly get the sensation of something hitting me in the head. Not the pain part of the object contacting my skull, but rather the shockwave that goes through my head and my consciousness. It's actually very much like the pressure I have all the time suddenly increases a hundred times over a small fraction of a second. I guess you could say I live my life feeling like the way you feel a few seconds after you got a blow to the head, and sometimes I get the actual blows. Except for the pain, just the other sensations involved. The pressure and the "shocks" that I get slightly vary in the way they feel. Sometimes they both feel kind of electrical, sometimes the shocks feel more sharp or more "cushioned", etc. Oh, and I've noticed lately that they can be induced by certain sudden uncomfortable "hollow" sounds, like a note on my guitar that badly resonates with the body.

(Other symptoms I have include: sometimes feeling like my whole body is moving in various directions when I lie in my bed (kind of like I'm on a moving vehicle or airplane), sometimes it feels like my limbs are trembling but they aren't, once every few months or so I get a seizure-like feeling when I'm half between sleep and awake towards waking up, kind of like the pressure in my head is really electrical and kind of goes out of whack, causing my head to buzz, etc (might be a kind of sleep-paralysis I guess since I've had my eyes open and unable to move etc), sometimes I get less-than-a-second-lasting black dots appearing in the corner of my left eye (probably unrelated but maybe not since the head pressure is always on the right side if it's not centered), heart palpitations sometimes, etc.)

I explained all those last symptoms in the parantheses to my doc but she recognized them and said it's nothing dangerous (I'm sure they aren't too, many of them are probably unrelated and just psychosomatic stress related stuff). She didn't think it was epilepsy btw. It's mostly the explosions that worry me.

I'm not on any meds and am otherwise healthy.

1) non-pain pressure in my head giving me a kind of spaced out depersonalized feeling like the way one would feel a few seconds after one got a blow to the head
2) sometimes i get a sensation of suddenly actually receiving a blow to the head, just without the contact pain, but rather the kind of shock through the consciousness

Last edited by Panzerschlacht; 04-10-2008 at 05:28 PM..
Old 04-10-2008, 05:08 PM Panzerschlacht is offline  

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Do you drink a lot of caffeine? Use any illegal drugs (I know you mentioned no meds)? Do you have any chronic ENT/sinus problems (I myself have been having weird recurring headaches ever since my last sinus infection)?

I know your doc meant "not dangerous" as in not life threatening, but shit, anything that affects your perception can be dangerous if it happens at exactly the wrong moment. Best of luck!
Old 04-10-2008, 06:36 PM BethComesFromAbove is offline  

Thanks! Nope, no caffeine at all, or any other drug whatsoever. No sinus stuff that I know of.
Old 04-10-2008, 06:50 PM Panzerschlacht is offline  

Sometimes when I'm in class and stuff I kind of doze off and get a quick sensation in the head that lasts a second or so and I become alert. It will happen once every 3 weeks or so. It's not really that serious to me though and it isn't painful or anything. It also usually happens when I'm uncomfortable. Are you anxious at the times you get this?
Old 04-10-2008, 09:11 PM georgie2546 is offline  

Originally Posted by georgie2546 View Post
Sometimes when I'm in class and stuff I kind of doze off and get a quick sensation in the head that lasts a second or so and I become alert. It will happen once every 3 weeks or so. It's not really that serious to me though and it isn't painful or anything. It also usually happens when I'm uncomfortable. Are you anxious at the times you get this?

Hard to say .. I'm slightly/a bit anxious a lot though.
Old 04-10-2008, 09:29 PM Panzerschlacht is offline  

Can't say I recognize this but the trouble with headache evaluations is that people use different language to describe the same thing...and there are some rare headache subtypes that are little-known.

Some general questions:
-Where in the head to you feel this pressure? Does the feeling start somewhere and then radiate? Where do the sensations of blows to your head occur and where, if anywhere, do they radiate to? Is the pressure constant, throbbing, intermittent...?
-How often does the pressure feeling occur? (I know you mentioned daily - do you ever have days without the feeling? etc). How often do you get the blows to the head feeling? An idea of the pattern involve is often important (i.e...does this happen daily for three weeks and then stop for 6 months...or truly daily...or what).
-How long does this pressure feeling last (seconds/minutes/hours/days/etc)? If short duration, how often in a given day?
-What are you doing when the pressure feeling / exacerbations occur? Time of day? Associated with activity? Food? Alcohol? Certain places? Activities? Movements or position of the head?
-When these first started, did they start mild and get worse or did they start suddenly one day?
-Can you tell when you're about to get the pressure feeling or when you're going to start with the blows to the head feelings? Any visual changes, strange sensations, strange altered consciousness or mental feeling just before the pressure/exacerbations? Any weakness or changes in sensation (numbness, tingling, etc) in any part of your body associated with these feelings in your head? Any nausea or vomiting associated?
-Any other symptoms associated with the pressure/exacerbations themselves (as opposed to preceding symptoms)? Tearing of the eyes, flushing of the face, pupil changes, stuffy nose, sweating?
-Anything make the feelings go away? OTC pain meds? Anything else? If OTC pain meds, how often/much do you take?
-Frequent head/neck muscle pain or stiffness?
-Ever been diagnosed with anything psychiatric? (depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc etc)
-Any head trauma in the past?

Your best bet is to keep the appt with your doc and see if anything comes of that. If not, asking for a referral to a headache specialist would be in order.
Old 04-10-2008, 10:05 PM Arjuna is offline  

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Originally Posted by Panzerschlacht View Post
And sometimes I suddenly get the sensation of something hitting me in the head. Not the pain part of the object contacting my skull, but rather the shockwave that goes through my head and my consciousness.

OP, I sometimes experience similar sensations. I'll be laying in bed falling asleep when I'll suddenly experience a sudden but painless shock in my head. It feels like a split second of loud TV static jolting through my brain, and it immediately pulls me out of deep sleep. Sometimes I experience this sensation during the day, but usually only at night. Rarely, there are nights where the jolts are so frequent that I have a little difficulty falling asleep. Although probably unrelated, I also experience sleep paralysis, especially when I sleep on my back.

Anyway, I don't really know what causes these sensations but I do know that I tend to dwell over every single weird twitch or ache I feel, so I just hope that it's me being paranoid.
Old 04-10-2008, 10:27 PM leo is offline  

gerry houghton
Your description was extremely well written. I put something similar in Google and you were turned up as 'best matching'!
I have something similar. I can't add much else. Other than: it has only happened in the last few years. And only since I got tinnitus from watching the Rolling Stones. And my blood pressure is inclined to be high. Are they related? I have no idea.
But it's weird. I'm not even sure if I like the feeling... (!) Only happens as I am about to sleep.
Oh, and generally I am far too listless to be really healthy. But then I always have been.
Old 02-28-2009, 09:42 AM gerry houghton is offline  

i fucked a 17 year old on my 21st birthday and this is all i got.
Are you sure it's not related to ministrokes? That could explain the "impact" you describe.
Old 02-28-2009, 12:23 PM js8244 is offline  

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have you had any procedures (MRI, sleep study, etc) to rule out any conditions?
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:48 PM virus28 is offline  

Originally Posted by js8244 View Post
Are you sure it's not related to ministrokes? That could explain the "impact" you describe.

Ischemic strokes aren't painful or associated with any kind of sensation other than loss of sensation/motor function. Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds) often are painful, but there's nothing mini about them.
Old 02-28-2009, 02:02 PM Arjuna is offline  

Intermittently obstructed cerebral aqueduct causing transient increases in intracranial pressure?

The intermittency could be vascular? Circulatory conditions cause a vessel to swell up and pinch the very tiny aqueduct closed....condition changes, aqueduct reopens and fluid flows correctly again.

I am not a real doctor, though.
Old 02-28-2009, 04:33 PM jkoebel is offline  

Have you had any bloodwork done? Any fatigue or diarrhea?

If so, you might have your B12 levels examined. Pernicious anemia can cause vertigo and damage to the nervous system.



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Old 03-01-2009, 01:17 AM adm01 is offline  

I'm glad I saw this thread. I have something very similar to the OP going on as well. None of the docs could find anything either.
Old 03-02-2009, 04:11 PM BobSutan is offline  

When I saw this threat I actually went ahead and registered so I could participate. Been lurking on forums for a while.

When I came across this it was eerie to read about the symptoms you're dealing with because you describe me to a tee, well how things used to be. I used to get pressure sensations in my head and feeling like I was somehow disconnected from what was going on. When falling asleep I'd get the same flash sensation that would pull me out of my sleep at night. I always felt spaced out and just out of it, like my coordination was off, or I was watching what I was seeing through a TV/display almost. It's very hard to explain the sensation unless you've experienced it.

I went through a battery of tests for years including MRI, endless blood tests and doctor visits, specialists, dietarians, internal medicine specialists, neurologists and a bunch of other 'ists' that I'm forgetting, nothing explained anything. In fact my blood tests were "boringly normal" as my doctor put it yet the symptoms continued. I was getting worse too; tired all the time and could nap once or twice a day. Could sleep an entire night without feeling rested in the morning.

Another thing I noticed was I wasn't dreaming anymore or at least not that I could tell. Seemed to affect my imagination and creativity as well. Other odd little symptoms would be random muscle twitches around the body and in my left eye repeatedly, pressure building up in my ears like I was in an airplane.

After years of running to doctors, giving up, going back to doctors, giving up I was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea of all things. I had already done an in-clinic sleep study a couple of years earlier which yielded nothing. This time I did an in-home sleep study and turns out I stop breathing 57 times an hour for 20 seconds or more! How scary is that?!

For me the flashes turned out to be my brain running out of oxygen and waking up my body to breathe. As soon as I started using a CPAP machine that went away immediately. The funky out of body feeling is gone too and I feel rested in the morning. I don't take naps anymore and I work full time without issues. The muscle twitches are all but gone and I have energy again. It has been a complete transformation for me personally and the funny thing is most of my symptoms are not even listed as Sleep Apnea symptoms but obviously related.

I'm mostly happy that the head-flashes at night, pressure and numbness in my head and the out of body feeling are all gone. Those were all ruining my life.

As for B12 vitamins you can never go wrong making sure you get the right nutrients. Part of the Dr.'s exploration into my symptoms involved a few B12 shots to see if that made a difference, it didn't. Don't rule out anything and don't assume this is what's wrong with you but it can't hurt to get an in-home sleep study with proper follow up from a doctor. Might want to do it twice too and be aware that in-clinic tests are not as accurate since you're not in your own environment on your own schedule.

I wish you the best of luck and I know exactly how you feel and how frustrating and desperate it can get trying to explain to someone these vague and very odd symptoms. Don't let it go undiagnosed either. If it turns out to be sleep apnea it can eventually kill you.
Old 03-12-2009, 11:22 AM fumducket is offline  

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