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Pressure in head

About two and a half months ago all of a sudden I started experiencing high pressure in the front lobe part of the head, the feeling is best described as if the insides are trying to expand, but are contained by the scull (does not feel like a headache, quite different, more emphasis on innards wanting to expand, rather than pain/ache). The area affected by this high pressure feeling is front lobe part of the head, on the same level as eyebrows, from sideburn to sideburn, but mostly it is localized in the two spots, on the left and right side of the head, a funny comparison some place where cow has horns.
This is not necessarily painful, but has a distinct feeling of the insides wanting to expand out. The first month this was VERY apparent, I was distracted from everything happening around me, only being able to concentrate on the feeling of pressure/expansion. During the most severe episodes, the feeling from the two localized parts expanded towards each other, and joined right above the nose. If I was driving in a car, and looked in the rear view mirror, momentarily I would loose my orientation.
As implied above, the pressure sensation was not constant, it was start slow when I woke up, and increase throughout the day, taking a form waves, comes on strong, then lets go a bit, then returns again, sometimes disappearing completely from a few minutes, sometimes disappearing for a few hours even.
Throughout the first month for about 6 days (day here, day there, but not 6 in a row), I experienced loss of visual focus for the entire day. It was as if I was surrounded by light fog. Also throughout the first month, whenever I clutched my jaws together, it felt as if I had some liquid in my ears, but upon doctors check-up, no liquid was found in the ears.
After the initial 6 weeks there were some changes, the pressure decreased on average, the pressure attacks were not as severe, and at times the pressure disappeared for hours. I have noticed that it is often triggered by loud environments, or a busy/stressful workday, but not exclusively, sometimes it could happen right when I woke up in the morning.
After the initial week of this I have contacted my family doctor, thinking that this may be sinus related, since the week before my wife and son have just recovered from a sinus with help of antibiotics. Family doctor suggested to wait 10 days with no treatment to see if the body will recover by itself. After 10 days with no improvements, doctor suggested to take 1 tablet of Apo-Iboprofen 600 twice a day for 2 weeks, this did not help at all. I had CT scan.As I understand nothing abnormal was found. There does appear to be some atherosclerotic calcification within the intracranial portion of the left carotid artery but there is no evidence of previous CVA. The internal audiory canals are unremarkable. OPINION: Negative Study. Please help.

50 Responses
233190 tn?1278549801
A referral to a neurologist can be considered.  I would assume that the CT scan that you mentioned was a head CT.  

You can consider further imaging with an MRI - which can be more sensitive than a CT scan in diagnosing some neurological disorders.  

If negative, you can consider optimizing treatment for migraine headaches - which can sometimes present atypically.  Some of the symptoms you describe can be attributed by a migraine.

If the neurological workup is non-revealing, you mentioned the sinuses.  Various types of sinus pressure can sometimes mimic migraine headaches and other neurological conditions.  A sinus CT scan can be helpful in evaluating this possibility.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Avatar universal
Thank you doctor Kevin for your prompt reply. I will follow your instraction. Thanks again.
Kind Regards,
Avatar universal
I had something very simular a few years ago.
It lasted for months.Besides other testings, I also had a CT scan which showed normal results.
Then we went in vacation and the symptoms went away.
My first thinking was , that I had to much stress before
which caused the problems( Stress can cause a lot ).
When we came back, the problems started again after a few days.
Then I tried something else.During the vacation I didn't
use my moisturizing face cream which I started using before
my symptoms appeared , because I simply forgot it at home.
After vacation when the symptoms showed up again, I remembered
that I used a other cream during the vacation.So I tried to
avoid the other moisturizing cream and I was successful.
Cosmetics and Shampoos can make reactions also , when a person
is sensitiv to certain contents in it.At least thats my
experience.I'm free of symptoms since then and it was a simple
thing to try.
Avatar universal
For the last 7 weeks I have experienced serious pressure and occasional 15-30 minute headaches in my head, often not allowing me to drive or maintain my active lifestyle. After trying Meclizine, Prednisone, Birth control pill and now amoxicillon I still hahve no relief. MRI showed no abnormalities although an X-ray done my base spine down through my C5, also in my T10 & T12. What would be causing such inflammation? I am scheduled to see a nuerologist after my doctor felt he was of no help. His diagnosis is vertibulous nueronitis. Although from what I have read that only lasts about 2-3 weeks and I am now going on 8. I feel frustrated for myself and my family. What would suggest I do or who would you suggest I talk to?
Avatar universal
For the last 7 weeks I have experienced serious pressure and occasional 15-30 minute headaches in my head, often not allowing me to drive or maintain my active lifestyle. After trying Meclizine, Prednisone, Birth control pill and now amoxicillon I still hahve no relief. MRI showed no abnormalities although an X-ray done by my chiropractor showed severe inflammation from my base spine down through my C5, also in my T10 & T12. What would be causing such inflammation? I am scheduled to see a nuerologist after my doctor felt he was of no help. His diagnosis is vertibulous nueronitis. Although from what I have read that only lasts about 2-3 weeks and I am now going on 8. I feel frustrated for myself and my family. What would suggest I do or who would you suggest I talk to?
Avatar universal
It is strangely comforting to see that quite a number of people across the globe are suffering from a stubborn pressure sensation in the head, with occasional dizziness, nausea and the general feeling of expansion within the head. My doc went through numerous standard tests, even including a tick infection (negative), and has likewise found nothing significant. My feeling is that it has collected over time of constant stress and, exceeding a kind of threshold, has now taken grip and become perceptible all day. Upon my suggestion, my doc has prescribed physiotherapy, no medication. A friend of mine with similar symptoms has made quite some progress along this path. Problem would be stiffening of the neck muscles up to constant cramp with burning, and left untreated for too long, as one gets used to it. I hope it's successful and urge all suffering out there to at least consider this train of thought.

Avatar universal
I have had the exact same symptoms.  I went to my Doc and he did all kinds of blood tests.. All is normal.  Let me know if anyone comes up with anything.
Avatar universal
Now after my fifth appt with the doctor, he has me on 25MG of Nortriptyline. One capsule orally every night at bedtime for headache prevention. I have taken it five night so far and no change.I have now had this head pressure for 10 weeks, almost daily and hope that my future neurology appt will shed some light on this annoying "headache".
Avatar universal
I'm sorry I forgot to mention above the reason my doctor prescribed the Nortriptyline, for tension headaches. I looked that up on www.womenshealthchannel.com and the description they gave was very close to my symptoms.

Avatar universal
`Helium Head'feels like skull can't accomodate insides. Had this
for 10yrs & use 1mg Xanax 3xday +humor. Spent yrs. reading from
`old school books' since `new school' doesn't teach to think out
of the box. Had tests by 27 Dr's, some top Neuro's. They sure
didn't know much! Snowball affect caused serious problems. You
must be aggressive, seek info/ask. Head-Prssr is from many things.
I believe `nerve-conduction'(or lack of)is culprit.
-Vasomotor/vessel or response to weather, temperature, enviro.,
  = swelling & false allergy response.
-Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)/surges causing feel of full head.
-Barotrauma/ears-sinusus don't equalize to outside world.
-Skull Base Inflamm./nerve-bundle swells, slows CSF near neck.
-Infections/swelling pinches off nerves & stops neuron firing.
-Chloride Ion Channel/affects autonomic system. Xanax sedates
  there & keeps it open.
Delayed help caused blockage to tympanic nerves. Sinus tumor
formed, that's a different story. I live w/ brain glitches like
loss of time, reverse words/letters, mis-place things. Hd-Prssr
is 100% able to predict rain/hvy winds! (Barometric changes).
On a dare to de-bunk a Medical Intuitive,I called radio station.
Gave only name. He immediately dx'd past surgery, & rt. gout.
Said I had mixed un-explained energy from brain to spine. Had
never seen before or could answer. He was not a Dr. & I felt like I'd just been warmly X-rayed. My science degrees just went
through a shredder as I never believed these things. Sad he does
not know how to fine-tune. Anyway, if you find an answer for your mystery illness of Hd-Prssr, please share w/ us.
*Some relief also w/ neck traction.

Avatar universal
Hi there,

Im suffering from the same problem and its been about 10 weeks now. I've had constant headache and all the other symptoms that go along with sinus infection (post nasal drip, tender cheeks, nasal congestion etc). CT scan was negative (although I read that upto 10% can be false negatives, and I am still awaiting the results from my allergy tests. If these are all negative then im a little worried about what is wrong. Its affecting my work and general outlook on life....

Avatar universal
For about a week now, I am having a moderately to dull pain in my forehead directly in the center. It usually starts about an hour after I awake and last all day. I have tried everything from imitrex to loratab but it only eases it and starts back. Could this be sinus related? It is not a migraine, because I have been diagnosed with those and I am very clear as to what they feel like. This kind of feels like either sinus or sometimes how it feels before I have a menstrual cycle. But this is lasting longer. Any insight?
Avatar universal
Please please help me! IM only 17 years old, im so young and i feel like im dying. mail, i have never taken drugs or drinked in my life! For the past moth i have experienced severe pressure on the top of my head, swithing from left to right depending on how i lay down, or in the the middle part of the top of my head. Ivebeen to the doctor 4 times, they insist its sinus, but i have no soar throat no stuffy nose ect...jsut pressure on the top of my head. I also feel tired alot, hopeless,sometimesd dizzy....this happens from when i wake up to when i go t obed..it never goes away, i have taken ive profin, sinus medicine ect....nothing works....help might this be cancer????

Please someone help me so I can get my life back to normal!
Avatar universal
To `Help Me' & others. Get a Coronal CT Scan if they think it's
a sinus problem. If not read correctly, they miss fluid & air
levels that allow U to equal to the outside world via your ears
& nose. Get a copy of your report. Normal doesn't mean negative.
Means `I have a hunch or wait to see more symtoms.' If no ear-
fullness, pain, or sinus symtoms, many Dr's. (ENT's) overlook
a vascular swelling problem. Vascular usually doesn't move rt-
to left from shifting. Neck bent like at a computer/reading/etc
can swell vessels & cut flow to head. Sometimes U have to rule
out things by Brain/C-spine MRI. Stress/anxiety also causes this
so might read my earlier post. What do the Dr's say is wrong?
What tests or meds have U had? You have more than one sinus &
it's strange that U have no ear problem. Doubt that it's severe
but U have the right to ask for records & nicely for more info.
*Also, you can sign out your films to get another opinion & they
will also give U the same copy/report faxed to ofc. Busy staff
miss things. I know from reading my own report & asking if I
should be concerned about the large mass in my maxillary. Big
OOPS! Always get copies for your `Home Health File'. Files often
get lost or read too quick. I called it Helium Head Pressure!
Avatar universal
I started a comment, the power went out due to a storm and I lost what I was typing, so am starting again.  Please excuse me if the previous comment posts and I will try to get through this before another storm hits.

I also have been dealing with intense pressure in my head for the past two years. Since I have fibromyalgia and am very sensitive to weather changes anyway, it was just assumed this symptom was related to this.  It continued to worsen, tests were negative and an MRI was done--it confirmed some degenerative disk changes in my C-spine.  My M.D. states there really isn't anything that can be done.  It got to the point where I needed to go out on short-term disability and finally, this past year, I left my full-time position for a part-time position.  The only thing that helps at all is Xanax--so I am assuming the pressure is from my muscles tightening in my neck.  No painkillers seem to work on the pressure.  It is comforting to know that there are others out there with the same symptoms, so I know I'm not going crazy!!  It is very hard to explain to people how this feels--when you say "pressure" it sounds somewhat benign--but as most of you have commented can attest to, it feels like you are dying, and I know that there are times I wish that this were the case just for some relief.  I do use an at-home cervical traction device that does help somewhat and I have a portable one that I can bring with me to work. My symptoms do worsen with stress, which is why I cut down my hours.  But, unfortunately, now that I only work part-time, I do not have health insurance, so am very interested in how others deal with this. Between this pressure and the fibro, I am at times incapacitated, especially before stormy weather.  It feels as if my whole body is about to explode!  I feel as if I have tried everything--conventional medicine, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, vitamins, etc., etc.  Look forward to more posts on this topic and maybe some hope for the future.
Avatar universal
Terri: Hope U read my previous posts. Best way to describe the
prssr is `feels like my skull can't accommodate the insides'!
Dr's seem to think more than 1 min. on that comment. Predicting
weather sounds like inflamm. Xanax calms vessels & is a smooth
muscle relaxant. Check & get BP dwn. Buy monitor & ck. w/ Dr.
Try for 125/80. I started getting less pressr when I was put on
a BP-med along w/ a diuretic. BP dilates vessels for better flow
& if U have vascular-flow problem, inside vessel edema occurs.
The added diuretic pulls fluid out of sides of thoses walls to
filter out. Sodium causes swelling & salt is in edema. BP isn't
just w/ old folks, & controls alot of brain function. This type
of swelling really doesn't show on MRI unless radiologist is
good. That's our problem. Sloppy readings/reports back to Dr.
Get copies/reports on all + bloodwk. `I have a home-health file' & a signed release to ofc will allow U this info. This is law. I have neck bulges in c-spine but was told zip. Any long-
time arch in neck causes swelling & slows CSF & starts inflamm. Sleep w/ low/flat pillow. Use ph-bks to raise computer screen.
Keep neck straight to keep spine fluid flowing well. Any ear
prssr? Severe storms push me to take 1mg Xanax ea. 4 hrs. My
vessels relax & I survive. Anything make sense?  

Avatar universal
Help!  I am beginning to feel like I am losing my mind!  The doctors I have seen can't find anything wrong...
48 day consecutive headache..
weight gain
vision blurred, can't read close up
irregular menstral cylce - every two weeks
ringing in ears/sound waves-by at times
hand-eye coordination off,

Treated with hidose antibotics, 49th day headache stopped.
Pressure in top of head began and exist daily, especially when I bend over or strain.  
Mild headaches daily with occasional severe pain.
*Headaches, not sensitive to light or sound

Blood works have come back showing infection, but doctors could not say what I have..
Spinal tap came back normal
MRI came back normal
MRA came back normal
CT came back normal
Chest xray, normal
Sinus xray, normal
Bone scan of skull, normal
Pap Smear, normal
Hormones, normal
Eye exam, needs reading glasses, doctor says my eyes are "older" than they should be at this time.
Encephilitis, negative
Lyme Test, negative
West Nile, negative
Was given a prescription two weeks ago by neurologist of nortriptolyene,1 10mg for first seven days, then I started 2 10mg pills daily this week, and I cannot see that they have helped the pain.  

I am 38 years old, very active, and I am totally frustrated that I can not physically do the things I want to,.. I have read others comments regarding pressure in the head, and would like to know if any of those people have been diagnosed?  

I truly feel that they have missed Lymes, I was covered in ticks in my flower garden during the summer, I brushed approximately 30 seed ticks off my arm and side and I specifically remember pulling a tick off of my stomach that evening... I did not have a rash (that I know of) although I did have a few spells of small clear bumps/rash come up twice during the initial 48 day headache cycle.  

Any advise would be greatly appreciated,... I have lost my patients and have contacted all of my doctors and requested copies of my medical records... I feel its time I take over and go elsewhere... I just don't feel like they are digging hard enough... I live in northeast La, does anyone know a good infectious disease doctor?

Avatar universal
About a month ago I was diagnosed with a viral infection. I started getting pressure on the left side of my head by the temple, ear and cheek. The pressure came mostly at night and sometimes in the mornings. My doctor thought it was just left over sinuses. I was on a steroid pack for two weeks. The first week helped but the second did not. Following this I scheduled a neurologist appointment. Right before I was about to go I began getting a toothache. I went to the dentist, told him about my tooth and about my headaches. He did xrays and everything  but they all were normal. He then felt hte joints in my mouth and they really hurt. He diagnosed me with TMJ. He is making me an appliance that I am picking up tomorrow. Also, he said that a lot of people came in with the same symptoms and one of them was a man who went to a neuro first and was put through all these tests and it turned out to be TMJ. So I canceled my neuro appointment and I am going to try out the appliance first. I just thought this might help some of oyu. Also, I am still very worried because of all of the information on the internet leads to brain tumors.
Avatar universal
So  glad i found this website. It's nice to know i'm not alone with this pressure thing in my head. I've had blood work, ct scans for sinuses as well as my brain, that shows everything is normal. Recently I did develop a sinus infection and am taking a steroid nasal spray and pennicillan. When I take the spray it seems to make the pressure worse, but the ct scan showed my sinuses were ok. My pressure started about 2 months ago, and it's all on the right side of my head, feels like sinus pressure, but apparently not!!! I can tell u when this all started i was under a lot of stress and it started as a little flutter arount the temple area and spread to my eyebrow, eye,cheek,nose and ear. It makes me light headed at times and it is very aggrivating. My doctor seems pretty sure its related to the nerves in my head on that side and wants to start doing injections to freeze the nerve and treat it. Another doctor says he wouldn't reccomend that, buy would start with physiotherapy, and take it from there. I find in the meantime if i take a couple tylenol it helps with the pressure some, but the more i move around the worse it seems to get. Good luck to all of you and hopefully it's something that will settle down on it's own.  It doesn't seem to be anything major.
Avatar universal
Dear everyone here with pressure in their head, dizziness, headaches, and whatever else comes along with being wonderfully human.  I've had lymes disease for nine years and all these lovely symptoms are very much lymes.  Tests for lymes show negative more than doctors like to admit.  It's a difficult thing to pin down.  And it's more difficult to get docs to address it.  Probably because there's not a whole lot they can do about it once you've passed a certain point...for instance, they can blast it out of your system if you see them the day you find your tick.  But once it becomes chronic, they're pretty helpless.  They try all sorts of major courses of antibiotics, but the truth is, even if you get better, more often not you will get worse again, and go through the western doc thing all over again.  Amy Tan, the writer, has lymes.  She has money, so she could afford to spend $50,000 just on a diagnosis.  Not a cure, mind you, just to get told she had lymes.  By now, there's nothing left that western medicine can do for me.  I have the pressure in my head, sometimes drives me wild, but it's the dizziness that scares me.  That's my bugbear, something in my head.  Lymes is the disease with a thousand faces.  It can mimic anything.  But the symptoms you're all describing is very very lymes.  Plus fatigue, stiff neck, burning sensations on the skin, buzzing feet and hands (can get to a buzzing all over the body)...it's a real bugger, lymes.  No pun intended.  But I'm writing this to offer hope.  Look up Cat's Claw on the internet.  Find a source that is pure.  Take it.  You don't need a doc.  You just buy the cat's claw.  Good to take a great antioxident along with it.  Resveratrol is brilliant.  You might get a Herx reaction, but that's all to the good.  It means the herbs are killing the spirocetes.  A Herx reaction is when everything gets so much worse.  Bear with it.  It will come, it will go, but eventually you'll get well.  

It's true, not all of you might have lymes, but it's a safe bet you've got some infection that affects you neurologically.  Cat's Claw will help.  

Bless and keep you all.
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone,

Hello Alexandre,

I have the exact same problem as described by alexandre in the very first post, almost exactly as alexandre described it, I am not sure what is causing it or how to stop it, it just feels like a light pressure, that isn't painful that seems to linger in the frontal lobes.  It comes and goes, but is fairly constant lately.  I have never had a tick problem or anything like that.  Its a horrible feeling, and I really just want it to go away, mostly b/c its just uneasy and feels unnatural.  Any advice?  Anyone find out anything from a doctor?  this has been going on now for about 10 days or more, and I'm going to go to a doctor if I cannot figure something out to releive it, its not really a headache, its just like as if someone is barely touching my forehead in the frontal area, sometimes right and sometimes left sometimes middle and sometimes sideburns side area...

anyways, any advice or recommendations out there would be very appreciated, i don't think its serious, but would like it to go away...

--- Tom
Avatar universal
Ok, One thing I forgot to mention is that I started taking propecia recently for the past couple of weeks, and I read other guys have had problems with blood pressure going up and it irritating their eyes and head area, but i'm just a skinny guy, but this could be the cause so I will go off it for a while, and see if things improve.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone. Wanted to give you an update on the pressure in my head. Mine was also like Alexandre, exact same thing. I had pressure in the right side of my head so bad, i felt like i could have stuck it with a pin and deflated it!! The whole right side top, around the temple, eyebrow, cheek,both frontall lobes, felt like fluid in my ears, felt dizzy,light headed and in the fog as well. I was so worried about this I started having anxiety attacks. I thought for sure i had a brain tumor or something else cause this just wasn't normal and nobody knew what was wrong!!  I suspected sinuses from the beginning and all doctors kept telling me no cause there was no drainage, fever etc. Once i had enough anxiety attacks they decided to do a ct scan to put my mind at ease, and check for sinus trouble. The ct scan showed no sinus trouble or anything else. As all this was going on I was clearing my throat all the time of really thick flem and then one day my throat felt swollen, not even really sore ( LIKE MY HEAD ) but swollen. Sure enough it was sinus drainage and the glands in my throat were swollen. I wasn't getting over a cold, and my sinuses were never stuffy, they were always clear. A dr. put me on a nasal steroid spray and slowly the pressure in my head that i had for months started to ease up. I've been on it about 3 weeks now and i'm feeling a lot better. I have to continue to use the nasal steroid, maybe always, we'll see. I still feel a little pressure build at times, but nothing like before, and hopefully it will all go away with use of the steroid nasal spray. I'm finally me again!!! I hope this may help some of you. If you think it may be sinus related, keep going back until you get some satisfaction. Best of luck to all of you. I know what you're going through.
Avatar universal
I'm so thankful to have found you all. Thank you for your point-on descriptions. Your comments will help me put into words what I'm feeling.  I have an MRI scheduled for Wed. and I'm a nervous wreck for I was diagnosed with melanoma two years ago, and my thoughts always go to brain tumor.  I am going to try the Xanax, and the steriod nasal sprays. I figure nothing will hurt me, (worse than my own worries that is :-).  To know that I'm not alone helps in a big way, thank you!  I wish you all a healthier New Year and since it's Christmas, a Merry Christmas.

Has anyone experienced a small amount of relief from cracking your ears?  Like one would crack your knuckles, I've found cracking the cartilege (sp?) in my ears helps for a few minutes.  Hey, a few minutes of relief is grace.  

Does placing your hand on the top of your head also alleviate the pressure a little?  I'm hoping someone would know the reasons for these odd little relief treatments.

Thank you again.  I will let you know if I find out anything.  I have a terrific oncologist who will hopefully look into this more.  

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