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Daily Head Pressure and Ear Ringing
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Daily Head Pressure and Ear Ringing

Background:  Retired from the Army in Nov and had a complete physical.  Everything was fine except for lower back degenerative disk diease and mild hearing loss.  All bloodwork was normal.  Took a job in Iraq where I am currently.  Arrived in Feb.   In Jun, I was sick with extreme fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.  Saw a doctor in Jul and was given OTC headache meds.  They did bloodwork that came back normal.  Since that time I have had daily head pressure and tinnitus.  The tinnitus comes and goes and can be really loud and annoying.  Visited another doctor in Sep who thought it might be an allergic reaction and was given zyrtec for a month.  No change with the head pressure.  Saw an ENT in Oct who feels that it just a left-over from whatever made me ill in Jun and thinks it will get better with time.  I have a slight clicking in my jaw and he thinks TMJ might be a factor but I have no jaw pain.  I sit in front of a computer at least 10 hours a day.

NOTE:  I am 44 and had never had a headache prior to this.  Have never had any TMJ problems.  Tinnitus was never a problem. Never noticed any allergies before this.  Never had sinus problems.  Am in decent health and walk daily for 45 minutes. Thought it might be some sort of reaction to something here in Iraq but do not have typical allergy or sinus symptoms.  

Questions:  1) What can be the cause of the daily head pressure?  No pain, just a heavy and tight feeling from my eyebrows, temples to the back of my head.  Wake up with it.  Only goes away when outside exercising.  2) What can cause the tinnitus?
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.
   Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can have many different causes.  A common cause is hearing loss that occurs over time, from noise exposure, wax buildup, viral labrynthitis, Ototoxic drugs, Meniere's disease etc.  From the decription that you provided I suspect that you had a viral illness that partially involved your inner ear.  This will likely get better overtime, but can also lead to chronic neck and/or balance problems.  The pressure sensation sounds like typical low level chronic daily headache syndrome.  This can be caused by eye strain (10 hours at a computer per day), poor sleep (I imagine Iraq is stressful) and overuse of over the counter medications.  Starting a medication to prevent chronic daily headache will help with the tension, such as Elavil or Zanaflex once daily at night.  Neck physical therapy and altering your lifestyle can also be helpful.  I suspect your tinnitus will improve with time, but I would suggest audiologic testing.  If your symptoms recurr or do not improve then you may consider an MRI of the Brain, some centrally acting pathologies can also cause your symptoms such as an acustic neuroma or multiple sclerosis.
I hope this has been helpful.
21 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi. Sounds like neurological Lyme disease. Any bloodsucking insect can carry the bacteria and it has been found all over the world except for the north pole. It can evade detection in both blood and spinal fluid and is ultimately a clinical diagnosis.  See *************** for more info and discussion forums and online publications.  Once that bacteria enters the pristine environment of the central nervous system, all sorts of bizarre things happen. I've had the headaches. There are also co-infections that can occur and their symtoms (symptoms) overlap with Lyme and they don't all respond to the same antibiotics.  Doctors do not know about it. I saw 14 of them over a two year period and figured it out for myself. Here's a symptoms list for you. Print and use as a check list.

Musculoskeletal System
Joint pain or swelling or tenderness
Stiffness of joints, back, neck
Muscle pain or cramps
Bone pain

Neurological System
Tremors or unexplained shaking (especially at night)
Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
Weakness or partial paralysis/stroke-like symptoms
Pressure in the head
Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
Increased motion sickness
Lightheadedness, wooziness
Sudden jerking of fingers or entire limbs
Pain in spinal column

General Well-being
Unexplained weight gain, loss
Extreme fatigue
Swollen glands
Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
Symptoms seem to change, come and go
Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
Early on, experienced a "flu-like" illness, after which you have not since felt well.  (If it was mild, you may not even recall this.)

Eyes/Vision
Double, blurry or dim vision
Increased floating spots
Pain in/behind eyes, or swelling around eyes
Over sensitivity to light
Flashing lights
Optic neuritis

Ears/Hearing
Decreased hearing in one or both ears
Buzzing or clicking noises in ears
Pain in ears or sound sensitivity
Ringing in one or both ears
Pressure or feeling of fullness in ears

Digestive and Excretory Systems
Diarrhea, irritable bowel
Constipation
Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping)
Frequent urination that is not normal
Upset stomach (nausea or pain)

Respiratory and Circulatory Systems
Shortness of breath, cough
Chest pain or rib soreness
Night sweats or unexplained chills
Heart palpitations or extra beats
Heart blockage

Psychological well-being
Mood swings, irritability, rage
Unusual depression
Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
Feeling as if you are losing your mind
Overemotional reactions, crying easily
Too much sleep, or insomnia
Difficulty falling or staying asleep

Mental Capability
Memory loss (short or long term)
Confusion, difficulty in thinking, brain fog
Difficulty with concentration or reading
Going to the wrong place
Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
Stammering speech
Forgetting how to perform simple tasks

Head, Face, Neck
Unexplained hair loss
Headaches, mild or severe
Twitching of facial or other muscles
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Tingling of nose, cheek or face
Stiff or painful neck or creaking
Jaw pain or stiffness
TMJ
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Avatar_n_tn
Mineandours:  Is everything always Lyme Disease with you?  Sometimes I get real tired of the "Lyme" freaks who blame every ailment on Lyme disease.  Even with multiple negative tests they still tell people that they still have Lyme.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know the ear ringing could be caused from inner ear problems, such as meniere's. And it could also be sinus problems, which I've been having problems with. I would bet it something to do with your sinus's and inner ear. I agree not to jump to Lyme disease, at all.
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Avatar_n_tn
No, everything isn't Lyme disease with me.  I happen to be very knowledgeable about it and when perfectly healthy people start developing bizarre neurological symptoms, it is something to seriously consider.  Doctors are missing these diagnoses and people are falling through the cracks just like I did.

I only wish that during the two years of hell I went through, someone would have intervened and at least given me the idea.  I saw a parade of 14 doctors over the course of two years.  My symptoms were to say the least, horrifying.  One doctor had the audacity to insinuate that perhaps I had been abused by my father as a child.

My Lyme titers were negative and my Western Blot was negative. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis made my history of symptoms and exclusion of other diseases.

My husband also ended up having it and also the co-infection, Babesiosis. It took another year beyond my diagnosis to figure his out.  He had a complete mental breakdown from the neuro-psychiatric effects caused by the bacteria in his brain and central nervous system.  He had panic attacks, seizures, suicidal thoughts, agoraphobia and the list goes on.  He was sleeping 22 hours a day.  He lost his job which sent us into a financial tailspin from which we will never recover.

The cost involved to diagnose and treat both of us had been over $100,000. Yes, we have health insurance, but it certainly did not cover all of our expenses. Quite a bit of it has ben out-of-pocket. I would not want another soul on this earth to suffer like we have.  

So, isn't that what these forums are for? To help one another?

If I read a post and it sounds like the person could have some manifestation of Lyme disease, then I post.  If it doesn't, then I don't post.  It's as simple as that.

I have helped literally hundreds of people through the internet, my newspaper articles and as a contact person.  People call me at home and at work for referrals to Lyme specialists and questions about the disease.  I will continue to do this with a passion.  

Carol


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Avatar_n_tn
Carol:  OK, I'll give you my story.   My wife was "diagnosed" by a "Lyme literate Doctor" with having Lyme Disease.  This Doc is considered "out there" by the mainstream doctors in our area, but she convinced us that all the blood tests, no tick found, no circular rash all meant NOTHING.  She claimed the Lyme was there by finding a few symptoms of that long list you post all the time.

         This LLD was sure of her diagnosis and the meds began.  Heavy antibiotics for weeks.  My wife was getting worse.  The LLD said, "getting worse" is normal, and continued on the path of more antibiotics.   We would force appointments with the Doc because my wife was in a tailspin.

         I took the bull by the horns and paid out of my own pocket to go to a regular "non-LLD" that is respected in our community.   He looked at all of her records, gave her a physical, and simply said, "she does not have Lyme" and she is feeling poorly because she is being medicated too strongly and for too long by these Antibiotics.

         We decided to go with this opinion.  By wife got better in days.   He blamed her initial symptoms of "head fog", dizziness and a few other symptoms to anxiety.  He was absolutely right !

         I know when I joined this forum regarding my viral meningitis, someone posted that I probably had Lyme, not viral meningitis  It confused the **** out of me, scared me to death, and had my mind racing for days.

         The mainstream medical community does not agree with most of those LLD'ers.  They blame Lyme as the cause of way too many things, some which are as simple as anxiety and depression.  

         I know several woman who believed they had Lyme, despite all the negative test, and personally believe the problem is psycological.
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Avatar_f_tn
Viral infections can cause head pressure , tinnitus , dizziness,fatigue and headaches.
Neurological disorders can present themselves in this manner also.Sinse the tinnitus has continued,maybe contacting your ENT again or a neurologist.
I suffer from tinnitus daily its a bother.Mine is auto-immune related
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Avatar_m_tn
i agree lyme disease in this case does not seem like an accurate dx. the original post only mentions tinnitus and headaches. the list of lyme symptoms huge. everything and anything could be lyme according to this list. i'd explore neurological/muscular causes first.
to the original poster: the fact that you are in front of a computer 10 hours a day to me is important. muscular spasm/imbalance can cause headaches and headache related symptoms, especially when the  the neck musculature is involved. the delicate/small muscles of the neck are extrememly overtaxed when sitting in fron of a computer. the fact that your symptoms improve with exercise supports this idea--- when the muscles "loosen up" with activity and are no loger in spasm, your symptoms get better.
i'd pick up a book on posture/neck pain. you can also do a search for jole bookspan and read her website.
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Avatar_m_tn
sorry, that's jolie bookspan. she is a renowned expert on muscle pain/imbalance/posture etc..
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Avatar_n_tn
Reading your post I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.  I used to wake up with the WORST headaches, like my head was going to explode.  The presure behind my eyes and the back of my head was incredible and eventually over the years became unbearable.  I could barely lift my head off the pillow.  I also developed the constant ringing in the ears, which also got worse over the years.  Getting up and getting in the shower and moving around would eventually help but again over the years got harder to elivate the pressure in my head.  I was diagnosed with migranes (migraines), went through MRI's, the whole nine yards.

One day, at my normal eye exam, the optomitrist told me that she believed I had PSEUDOTURMOR CEREBRI and URGED me to get to the opthomologist.  After several hours and tests at the opthomoligst, they also agreed w/ her diagnosis and scheduled me for a spinal tap and MRI.

Pseudotumor Cerebri is not a very well known disease.  It is caused from the spinal fluid not draining properly and it builds up pressure in your brain, basically its just backing up in your head.  That's why after sleeping your waking up with the really bad headaches.  I actually see a Neuro Opthomologist.  (Never even knew that kind of doctor existed).  He put me on Diamox to relieve the pressure, it helped, but it is a HORRIBLE medicine.  

Please urge your doctor's to look into the disease.  Like I said, not many doctor's know about it.  I was misdiagnosed for 3 years by a neurologist.  It wasn't until I went to someone that just happened to know about it that it was recognized.  

Mine, thankfully was caused by obesity and was able to have a gastric bypass and now all symptoms are gone.  

But, if it is pseudo, I truly urge you to get to the doctor and have them test you.  The spinal tap is really not that bad, not like everyone made it out to be anyway.  Your better off knowing though.

Please let me know what your doctor's say.  I'm really hoping I helped you.  

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Avatar_n_tn
Carol, I am interested to know that if after 3 years of anti-biotics (as you said in the patient to patient neuro section in my thread), has your Lyme disease improved?   3 years is a very long time to be on antibiotics.  What type and strength do you take?
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Avatar_n_tn
cris va...I was diagnosed with a psedotumor last week and I am thinking of having a shunt put in...what was you're opening spinal pressure mine was 40cc and my second was 28cc. also what were you're symptoms...i have dull headaches/ear plugged/concentration problems/dizziness/ and fatigued..any info would be great.
Scott
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Avatar_n_tn
Kienow,  I am curious as to how you were diagnosed with this. Did you doctor see papalidema in your eyes and then order a spinal tap?  Are you significantly overweight?  Also have you had a feeling of a blocked nose?
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Avatar_n_tn
Not sure if this could be of help... but here it goes.   You can become allergic later in life.  I did, when I turned 40.  Not the usual symptoms that most folks have, but somewhat like you.  It turned out that the allergy was limited to the nasal passages, and not really that involved into the sinuses.  Found out I was allergic to the ink that printers use (computer, newspapers).  Some times the ringing in the ears can be caused by even the slightest of ear wax build-up.  Fianally, the fact that you spend many hours in front of a computer screen could be the cause.    Some people are sensitive to too much exposure to the screen or such close details.   Even tv watching can trigger some "brain activity" to give you the symptoms you discribe.  I get a headache watching the tv... when my husband flips the channel every few minutes.  Might not be your case.... but just food for thought.
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Avatar_n_tn
chris_va i've been waking up with headaches for past 6 months or so, my symptoms are headache mostly in morning, and visual symtoms (symptoms) and a stiff neck. ive had the feeling of papilledema twice, but it went away after a couple of days. i got a ct scan nothing came up, can you get pseudotumor cerebri even if you are underweight? please help thx!
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Avatar_n_tn
My 2 cents for what its worth from a once healthy 43/m

Before the madness for me started I had steady tinnitus for about two months. In that time I was also having sometimes panicky awakenings and some tingling, numbness in my extremities. Then two months from the start of the tinnitus symptom I experienced a few episodes of heavy tremors in my legs and a bit in my arms. After the tremor episodes I was left with twitching, buzzing/vibrations, tremors/spasms, burning sensation, bug crawly feeling in my upper back, cramping, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, tinnitus, sometimes an awareness of difficulty of walking due to a feeling of imbalance, weightloss, insomnia, aches and pains.

When the tremors started I would get the feeling of the chills like you know when you are catching the flu.

The past couple of months I have noticed a decline in cramping, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, crawly feeling in upper back, trouble swallowing, and aches and pains and I have gained my weight back though due to less exercise over this period I have put on the wrong kind of poundage.

Testing: CT scan clear but on the EEG test during the hyperventilation part of the test my legs experienced tremors.
MRI showed no intracranial abnormalities but there was fluid around the nose compatible with sinusitis and my right ear area did show fluid compatible with mastoiditis.

The way things started and the fact that after 8 months I have no serious weakness, likely means ALS, is not the reason. My MRI showed no lesions on the brain and my symptoms are not really compatible for MS at this time; though maybe a person does not always need lesions on the brain to experience the disease in the early stages. My doctors are presuming Anxiety which if I did not have before the symptoms arose I probably have acquired by now. The neurologist I saw twice said I did not have ALS, MS or BFS but I think she just saw me as an anxious patient who was wasting her time.  

From some of the posts I have read on this website http://www.nextination.com/aboutbfs/ I could have been infected by a virus or less likely I picked up lyme from one of my camping/hiking trips to the Thompson/Okanagan region of B.C.

All the best in your quest for the truth.

Paul
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Avatar_n_tn
all i have seen is lyme and other things, well my husband just had a CT at the ER they sent him home and said he needed an MRI but could not do it on a Sun. To make a long story short, he had his MRI the finding floored us both and now we have to wait until Monday to see a neuro, he has been sick since August, weakness, in bed all the time etc. was in hosp in NC in August for a bone disease he has.  His strength came back some but not ever to normal so this Sunday after Thanksgiving I took him back to ER (4) trips at this point.  He has pounding in his head, said his ears feel like they are ringing all the time, extreme weakness, change in personality (though he denies that of course) Not able to function is basically what it has come down to.  So ... the CT came out abnormal, he had his MRI we got the results today and I have been on line for hours trying to figure out what the h he has, The report reads like a medical journal here is some of it...Thfe are minimal patchy hypertense sighal changes involving the central pons, propably representing chronic small sellel changes/ T-2 and FLAIR images demonstratenodular mucoperiosteal thickening involving the right maxillary sinus/there ia a punctate focus of hyperintense signal on T-2,Hyoptense on T-1, involving the centrum semiovale which is hyperintense on FLAIR images/this may represent an area of small lacunar infarction with mild surrounding gliosis./the possibility of a tiny brain cyst cannot be excluded/then a bunch of other medical terms that say some things look perfectly normal. CONCLUSION: (direct from the report)There is a small round well-circumscribed hypointense area on T1, hypertense on t2 and FLAIR images, involving centrum semiovale without mass effect, edema or enhancement measuring 3 mm.  it has a benign appearance/differential possibilities should include a congenital brain syst/the poss of a small chronic lacunar infarct with surrounding gliosis cannot be excluded well that was a mouth full and i am sorry for sorry for such a long posting but I am lost, does any one out there know what this is I don't know if I can stay sane until Monday to see the neuro. thank you Joshpo
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Avatar_n_tn
I earlier posted a comment about vertigo. I did not mention some other symtoms (symptoms) . Loss of hearing , I cannot tell which direction sound is coming from sometimes , headaches , vision problems ( like a spot  behind my pupil in my right eye & like looking thru a tunnel , mostly weeks leading up to my dizzy spell on Nov. 19 , 06 ) I do not have high blood pressure even thow it has gotten up to 148/90 when checked during the eyesight problems , it normally is 115/ 75 or 80 most times I have checked it at home or doctors office. The doctors at the hospital found nothing in all the test they took , and said it was a bad case of vertigo , due to an inflamation (inflammation) of the middle ear . I have had a few colds this summer which is not normal for me , but I work in the public around dirty money ect.
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Avatar_n_tn
I earlier posted a comment about vertigo. I did not mention some other symtoms (symptoms) . Loss of hearing , I cannot tell which direction sound is coming from sometimes , headaches , vision problems ( like a spot  behind my pupil in my right eye & like looking thru a tunnel , mostly weeks leading up to my dizzy spell on Nov. 19 , 06 ) I do not have high blood pressure even thow it has gotten up to 148/90 when checked during the eyesight problems , it normally is 115/ 75 or 80 most times I have checked it at home or doctors office. The doctors at the hospital found nothing in all the test they took , and said it was a bad case of vertigo , due to an inflamation (inflammation) of the middle ear . I have had a few colds this summer which is not normal for me , but I work in the public around dirty money ect.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello
Well here it goes I had pnemonia (pneumonia) baddly 2 years ago and for the past year or 2 My doctor said with tests he has sent me foer that I have Degenerative disc desease and arthritis also the CT Scan come back saying that I have a brused brain  I also have TMJ what I am concerned is why am I getting only head sweats at night could it be something in my diet or could it be caused from computer ( I am at the computer somedays about 6 hrs a day off and ondoctor is sending me to a Nero speciallest after christmas but I am scared to death of getting bad colds cause I am going to another province for christmas and its cold there so if I have a head sweat at night the cold will make it worse
I am also dealing with a lot of stress in my life right now Oh I am 60 years old female I get a lot of Aura Migrains too could someone Help me or give me some answers I am going crazy sometimes It feels like a strke coming on when I have the Migrains followed with weekness and tiredness all day long (only sometimes sometimes I dont have weekness just a bit of Zig Zag lines that last for only 20 min.
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Avatar_n_tn
I encourage anyone of you who have Lyme Disease, MS, ALS--whaterver, to continue to post your experience and information about it, regardless of what others day. THese diseases are very mysterious, unpretictible and many times hard to diagnose. I feel for all you who suffer from any painful symp's. As long as I have been reading the postings at these forums, I noticed that there are many poor souls who just want a solid diagnosis, whatever the disease is, so they can get treated and get better.
Although you can't just jump to conclusions and say "hey, I must have Lyme disease, better get tested", it's can sometimes be a possiblity to rule in or out as well as other diseases.  As many of you know, these dieasess can mimic each other. I've heard many stories where people were originally diagnosed for MS or ALS and found out later, with more accurate testing, that they had LYME.  I hope the initiatives and testing continue to improve for LYME as it should be consider as a valid disease, next to all the maladies that many are afflicted with.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, pressure in ears was started.
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Pressure in head or nose or ears. was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
Same problem got some ear med put some eear pplugs it helps noise has been sshout down good nite I'm going to sleep now
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, ear pain/dizziness/pressure was started.
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