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Jolt feeling in head, with sensation of movement
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Jolt feeling in head, with sensation of movement

In 2004 I experienced the constant sensation of the floor moving (mostly up and down like on a boat), and
the occasional feeling that I can only describe as a sudden jolt in the head. It's accompanied by a
more intense sinking feeling than normal, lasting only a split second, and happened mostly when suddenly
moving my head - for example looking down or up, or turning to lie on my side. It is not painful, though I
can feel a sort of pressure all over the inside of my head. I noticed these symptoms directly after a bad flu. I also saw flashes of light that weren't really there, and felt brief tingling in parts of the top of my head like it had fallen asleep. Sometimes I could feel a dull, mild pain behind my left eye. I did not feel the room spinning, or any nausea. I was and am not on any medication, do not use drugs, do not smoke, but do drink. I had a concussion at age 4, but no other head injuries.

The ENT assured me 100% that it wasn't ear related. The neurologist told me to come back if it hadn't gone away. It didn't go away completely, but soon settled down into mild sensation of movement with no 'jolts' in the head, so I didn't end up going back. Recently it has been completely gone.

Just in the last week, it has come back, and this time is worse (although I haven't had flashes of light), and the sensation of movement is more intense. I also have felt some tingling in the top of my head, and the pain behind the left eye. Now, the jolts can be triggered not only by sudden head movements, but also by slight ones and eye movement. It started after a cold. The first feeling was after jumping and landing with a thud, at which point I immediately started to feel the floor moving slightly, and now, a week after that, the movement has worsened and the jolts started.

I am worried about MS. Is there a good chance that this is not it? It seems to fit the pattern. Is it possible that I just have a pinched nerve in my spine etc? Thank you for your help.
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152264_tn?1280358257
Weird.... I had, and still have, "jolts" in my head that began in the middle of a bunch of other weird ear and neuro symptoms in 1999.

Began with what I now think was a small episode of trigeminal neuralgia (extremely painful lightning-type shocks below ears), a few weeks later a sudden severe hearing loss in one ear when I sneezed hard, a few weeks later the "jolts" started.

They were like a split-second feeling of about to lose consciousness, like my eyes were going to spontaneously close but they never did. At the same time, it felt like a "jolt" of what I described as "total dizziness" accompanied by a burst of "static" in my bad ear (over and above the constant whirring tinnitus in that ear).

These "jolts" were most frequent when I was tired (sleepy) and often occurred when I heard a sudden noise (such as phone ringing) or when a staticky sound stopped, such as when turning off running water or changing the radio station.

Later I realized (or maybe it didn't happen until later) that moving my eyes would often make the "jolts" happen.

Over a few months or years, the jolts "softened" such that I no longer got the "about-to-conk-out" feeling, and they lasted maybe a full second instead of a split second. I also frequently got double, triple, and even quadruple jolts in quick succession, often in the twilight between sleep and wake but other times too.

I have LONGTIME mild dizziness all the time, very highly abnormal auditory evoked potentials on both sides along with the nerve hearing loss on the left, an MRI that has small spots but nonspecific for MS (never had other MS testing such as spinal tap or visual evoked potentials), also had a little imbalance (foot not landing in exactly the right place) for a period, arm not hitting target exactly right the first time (when reaching for drawer handles or licking my finger, etc.), lots of scattered paresthesias, Lhermitte's, shocks in my face going around my eye/nose/upper lip, vibrations, leg fatigue, etc. etc. but two different neurologists gave up on me after following me for only a year. They wanna see those typical MRI lesions or bad reflexes, symptoms count for nothing. Even though the first neuro essentially told me I had MS at my first appointment (his idea--I was stunned), but then he acted like he'd never said it and later brought up the "medical student's disease" "diagnosis," which of course was the only thing that later doctors ever even considered after reading his notes. (Once you're tainted with THAT, you're doomed--it's the only thing that sticks, and you CANNOT talk your way back into having them take you seriously again.)

Ear doctor (neuro-otologist) also found nothing wrong except hearing loss. ENG normal 2x. Why am I dizzy? What ARE those jolts!? who knows.

There IS an interesting connection between eye and ear when you have nerve damage: look up "gaze-evoked tinnitus." Apparently eye movement can trigger abnormal sound sensations as the visual system overrides the auditory system, something like that.

I don't know about the tingling in the head or the pain in the eye--I did have tingling though not connected to the jolts. Have you been to a neuro-ophthalmologist or at least an ophthalmologist about the eye, to rule out optic neuritis?

If you want to get to the bottom of this, keep trying on the neurology front. But I warn you--if you have a clear MRI and no obvious signs, you may never get a diagnosis, and may end up getting dismissed. MANY people end up with a lifetime of "medically unexplained symptoms" and no diagnosis (I quit talking to doctors about these things five years ago).

Nancy T.
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I have been having dizzy spells since I was 12. When I was 15 I was diagnosed with bppv(which is postional vertigo). It had gotten better for a few years which it would just come on sometimes. Now all of a sudden lately its been worse, really bad for the past 3 months. I started pt again for it and i am going to see another ent doctor. But sometimes I also get the feel of jolts which has happened ever since i had vertigo so I just assume its related to that. Doctors say that it usually goes away after a few years and gets better, well i am almost 23 and have had it for more than a few years so i dont know what else to do. Have you ever been tested for vertigo? because maybe its that.
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152264_tn?1280358257
Hi lindz--Vertigo is not a diagnosis (thus they don't "test" for vertigo, they test for things that CAUSE vertigo), it is merely a symptom. This is a distinction that many people don't make, because their doctors just tell them "you have vertigo" as if it were a diagnosis, without explaining to the patient.

Doctors also often tell their patients that dizziness/vertigo "will go away" in a few weeks or months or whatever. This is because the doctors HOPE it will and because it USUALLY does. But they have no way of telling you for sure that it will. They want the patient to believe it will go away because the mind is a powerful thing. But if you have an ongoing, unstable inner ear or brain disorder (much  more likely inner ear, and thus most likely not anything "dangerous"), it won't necessarily go away by itself, and since you've been having the symptoms for so long, you should try to find out what's really going on.

How were you diagnosed with BPPV? What exactly are your symptoms that led them to diagnose you with BPPV? BPPV is a very specific and very treatable disorder, although even with treatment it can recur. It seems rather unusual in such a young person. Also, BPPV often accompanies another inner-ear disorder. I would be very suspicious that you have some other inner-ear disease going on.

The BEST doctors to figure this out are neuro-otologists, also spelled neurotologist. These are ENT doctors with years of extra training in the inner ear (dizziness, hearing loss, etc.) Ask your ENT if they've had a fellowship or certificate in neuro-otology. If not, look for a doctor who has.

Check out the membership lists of the American Neurotology Society (you can Google it).

Another type of specialist--but one that's hard to find--is an otoneurologist. This is a neurologist by training but one who has specialized in dizziness "from the brain side" (as opposed to "the ear side," where ENTs/neuro-otologists specialize). Check out the link to a list of otoneurologists on www.robbmd.com.

Good luck getting things figured out. But be aware that sometimes, even the very best specialists can't say for sure what is causing your symptoms. I saw an excellent neurotologist AND an excellent otoneurologist and they still couldn't give me any definite answers. I've been dizzy at a low level since the late 1980s and worse since 1999 and many other symptoms but never any answers, just speculations. You MAY have to be content with only trying to minimize symptoms and repeating the BPPV maneuvers if those help you.

Nancy T.

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