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Head Pressure/Stroke Worry

I am a 38year old male, with recently diagnosed mild hypertension (typically 140/90). I am not particularly overweight (190lbs, 6'0"). I do not smoke, drink reasonably moderately (normally two days a week alcohol free, 2-3 standard drinks other days), and walk/run 3.75miles 3-4 days per week. My work is white-collar, office bound and prone to regular senior management stress levels. I have had the regular blood tests and cholesterol, lipids, kidney functions and white & red blood cell counts are in the normal range.

For the last 5 years I have had a feeling of extreme pressure in my head, at first sporadic but now pretty much constant. The symptoms are a sense of pressure around the temples, near the vein in the front (external) portion of the ear (near the temple), and a periodic tension/tightness in my cheeks & scalp. There is also a mild "ringing" sound in my ears
16 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear Kanga:

I am sorry to hear of your hypertension and "head pressure".  The sense of head pressure can be due to multiple things, for instance if you had a middle ear infection sinus infection (as you mentioned) or inner ear problem.  In addition, some types of headache can give a feeling of pressure in the head.  So, just from your description I can tell you what is causing your head pressure.  Since you have had your deviated septum all your life, I would think of this at the bottom of the possibilities, but it is a consideration.  The vessels in your brain are under fine controls for pressure regulation and would not be giving you a feeling of pressure in your head, although if your pressures were high enough for a long enough period of time, they could give you headaches.  Yes, intracranial hypertension can induce vessel wall damage.  If you had blockage of a brain vessel you would have a stroke, so likely not causing you just head pressure.  There are a myraid of diseases that can give you headaches or head pressure, much too long to list here.  

I would bet on a headache as inducing your symptoms.


CCF Neuro MD
Avatar universal
My symtoms are almost exactly the same as Kanga. I am a 32 year old male. I have also had mild hypertension 130/85. I do not smoke at all, but I drink white wine in the evenings. I drink about 4-5 nights a week. Truthfully, some nights I drink a little too much to where I wake up slightly dehydrated. I run about 1 mile per day and I also have a white collar job.

And also, for the last 4 years I have had a feeling of tight pressure around my temples. It is usually worse when I am most active and then it calms down when I get home, drinking or not. I never have headaches. This is not painful. It's just very irritating.

I do not have a deviated septum, but I don't have the greatest airflow through my nose either. But I have only had this feeling for about the last 4 years.

Please let me know what this could be. It's comforting to see that I am not the only one with this feeling. Like I said, I have no pain. It's just a tight pressure around my temples. And it feels worse when I am over-active and/or stressed.

Is there anything that I can take over the counter to help lower the activity in the brain and/or reduce the tightness and pressure around my temples? Can being dehydrated from alchohol cause something like this? I just quit drinking coffee too, that seemed to help but the feeling is still there.

Avatar universal
Not a medical person but had head pressure for about 10 years.  Dr. did carotid studies and MRI -- no resolution.  Finally noticed a correlation with ingesting artificial sweeteners.  Diet Coke, diet yogurt, diet candy, Crystal Lite -- you get the picture.  Stopped use of "diet" stuff.  Pressure went away -- not experienced for 2 years now. Can't hurt.
Avatar universal
I am a 26 year old male who has always led an active life surfing, skating and travelling. I have never had a health proplems at all about from the occasional cold etc. Over the last year I have had increasingly bad pains in my head. Which seems to cause swelling above and bellow my eyes. When the symptons first arose I merely took pain killers and carried on surfing and socialising. However for the past six months I have quit smoking, drinking, surfing. It has got to the stage where I can no longer do anything active without a pulsing sensation occuring in my head which causes the eye swelling to worsen and the pain becomes unbearable.

At first my GP thought it was a viral infection simply could be cured with rest. I have been sent to a neurologist who thought it could be an anyuersm, however the MRI scan showed up clear. I also have a severe infection deep in the gum below my wisdom tooth and the one next to it, it was thought they may have caused an infection in my nervous which was linked to the eyes. These two teeth have no been removed and I have been put on anti biotics, however the pain is still there and the other day when i returned to the dentist to have stiches removed out of my mouth he said that he serisouly doubted that the problem had orignitated from the tooth.

Have you any idea what could be causing this pain?
What should be my next medical step?
Would it be a good idea to try go private? ( I live in england and am in the NHS at the momement due the high cost of private health care)

I have had concusion on a number of occasions... may this be a cause?

Please help,

Avatar universal
My Dad is a very healthy (according to the doctors) 69 year old  white male. With very good upper body strength. He doesn't smoke or drink. His problem is he has pressure in the head almost daily. When this pressure hits is usually 30 minutes after he wakes and when active and at this time he also looses complete use of his legs.He falls down and seems to have a stroke.His legs are real weak and like jello. His face doesn't get distorted like a stroke victum but his speech starts to slur and it's like he can't remember how to say things. He just got out of the hospital again being told nothing showed up. He is getting frustrated. He is now having some depression. He had surgery for "Spinal Stenosis"in February and this did'nt relieve his problems. They operated on C3-6 "Cervical Anterior Cervical Disectory and Fussion".The Drs. said he has a abdominal aorta anuerism but they said that's not the cause either but they act like he's making it up. The internal medicine Dr. that he saw last week saw how these symptoms come on. He took a shower while in the hospital and 30 minutes later couldn't walk or speak. He said Yes you have a medical problem but I don't know what it is.He said we will do a blood flow to the brain test but never did it.Also he wanted to check for tumors or swellings behind Dad's eyes and never did it. Does anyone out there have similar
problems or an idea of what it is so we can check into it?
Thank You,
Avatar universal
Have had a septoplasty in recent days (out of hospital only last Saturday). My nose is still recovering, but airflow is a lot better. Sadly, the sense of pressure in the ears/temples is still there, though I know it will take about 4 weeks for the nose soft tissue to "calm down".

Some comments to add to those from John500 and burtonsic.

1) do not consume any "diet" type products at all - no saccharine, aspartame etc. Has set me thinking about what else might be in my diet.

2) have cut right back on coffee - now down to 2 cups a day or less, and that has seemed to help. Not sure I can go cold-turkey, but might be worth a try.

3) was taking a B-group multi-vitamin, and fish-oil capsules each day. Have stopped these as, in combination with the Avapro, I felt worse

4) had dental surgery on my upper left incisor nearly 20 years ago (scraped bad infection out of bone while doing a root canal and cap). That part of my "jaw" has been sensitive ever since, and have wondered if it - or other teeth problems - might be sensitising nerves in/around ears/head. Have plans to go to dentist to get him to look at it and some other cavities.

5) intend to pay for a "100,000 mile" checkup - ideally MRI/CT Scan/EKG/prostate check etc. NOt sure they'll find anything - no-one else has so far - but can at least add to the pile of evidence eliminating "big" problems.

Will let you know how it goes.

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