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Scalp Stiffness/Tightness - please advise
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by ScottC, Oct 26, 2006
I'm 35 years old. For the past 11 years or so, I have been suffering from what I can only describe as a tightness or stiffness in my head. It has been more severe at times than others. Lately, it has been prominent. It feels as though it is right at my scalp. When i do things like raise my eyebrows, it is very noticable and almost feels like the muscles(?) in my head are pushing down against the muscles. Almost as if an invisible hand has twisted the muscles/nerves in the top of my head and won't release. Very strange, but not what I would call "pain". Rather, stiffness. It radiates down around my ears too.

Over the past 11 years I've had MRI's (which only show a small nasal cyst which is sinus related), I have seen chiropracters, I have had orthodontists create teeth splints, I have had Emory University Neurologists examine me, ...all of this to no avail. One Emory Neurologist suggested that maybe (unlikely) there is this obscure nerve in the back of my head which could be irritated and create these kinds of symptoms, but the only way to determine this would be to drill a hole in the back of my skull and perfrom some horribly invasive surgery to pad the nerve. (eeeek! no thanks!)

Could this be some form of migraine, even though there's not pain with it? (I do get headaches occasionally. Not often.) I asked my physician early on, if this could have to do with my spine, but he insisted that spinal problems cannot create sensation beyond the top of the neck.

I would greatly appreciate any direction with regard to this issue. Thanks so much.
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Member Comments (5)
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by ploggin, Oct 26, 2006
Occipital nerve irriation at back of head can cause similar symptoms by what I have read.  Check out occipital neuralgia to see if any similar symptoms to yours.

I have a tight feeling in the top of my head as well often.  Feels like  my scalp is shrinking if I had to describe it.
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by Pum, Oct 26, 2006
Could it be allergy related?  My scalp gets slightly red and itchy at certain times of the year and it can be associated with a tight feeling.  

Alternatively, stress is a well known cause of scalp tightening.  normally feels like a vice or like you've been wearing a hat when you haven't.

Good luck.
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by tiffyg, Oct 15, 2008
i'm am 22 years old and i have been having tightness on top of my head as well for the last three years and when i asked my doctor he said it was due to stress which i do have alot of  but i also think it has to due with my neck as well because when i put my head down i get alot of pressure and when i raise my eye brows up and down it  feels like my whole scalp tightens up and my whole scalp moves.  thanks
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by EveningGrosbeak, Jan 01, 2009
I have been having very tight scalp (top of head) symptoms for 3 weeks now but cannot find a cause.  I will have associated dizziness with this tightness, which can cause severe headaches as well.  

Wonder if you have any updates on your symptoms or a cause.

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by jagenigma, Apr 29, 2009
you may be having a stroke.