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Soreness, numbness, crackling in head brought on by meditation.

Hi,
I've been suffering with some horrible symptoms for the past 7 months, and nobody can tell me what's wrong or how to treat them.  This is very bizarre so bear with me.  I am a 35 year old male, otherwise very healthy.  I always ate well and exercised regularly.  On November 18 2007, I tried meditating for the first time.  I downloaded a program off the internet which described how to perform a mantra meditation, where you close your eyes for 15 minutes, and think of a syllable in your head over and over.  It was supposed to be relaxing.  So anyways, I do this, and as soon as I opened my eyes when finishing, I felt electric-like explosions all over the side of my face and my entire head went numb.  It became very sore all over, and starting making horrible crackling and crunching sounds in my ears, on the crown of my head, and in my neck.  I went to the doctors and had a ct scan done, as well as an MRI, an MRV and bloodwork.  Apparently this showed nothing irregular, so according to all the docs (2 primary doctors and 3 neurologists) I was fine.  I also went to see an acupuncturist, 2 chiropractors, a hypnotherapist, and an all natural pharmacist who does energy healing and works with homeopathy.  I always get the same story, either there's nothing wrong with me, or that they can fix me up pretty easily, yet here I am suffering immensely with no relief at all in 7 months.  These symptoms are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with absolutely no relief.  I was hoping that it would eventually work itself out or go away, but that has not happened yet and I am getting very concerned.  Especially with the bizarre circumstances in which this all started, its very hard to get any doctor to think outside the box, and take it seriously.  They just say "oh meditating couldn't do that."  Yet it clearly did as it was like flipping a switch as I opened my eyes.  I went from feeling great to this.  Clearly it is not a headache, it is something very different, I just wish I knew what it was, and how to treat it.  Life has become pretty miserable more or less.  I try to stay positive, but its just time for this to end...  I just found this site, and thought I'd put my story on here to see if anyone had any thoughts.  

Thanks so much,
Rob
33 Responses
Avatar universal
anyone?
Avatar universal
Hello,

I am going throught something very simular.  I hear popping and cracking in my ears. At first the sound scared me.  Then I relaxed and thought to myself that maybe it was God or that I had reached a higher spiritual plain.  This happened during my evening meditation so right afterwards I went to bed.  The very next morning I was awaken by the phone.  I was running late for prayer at my church.   After arriving at church I notice that every time God’s name was called I experienced the popping and cracking.  I suggest making peace with it and embracing it.  You have gone to the doctor and they can not find anything that you should be concerned about.  Look at it this way.  Your brain is like a transponder receiving and sending messages.  When you hear the popping and cracking ,feel those vibrations and be open to the message or what ever it is that  might be taking place.  That’s what I did.  I still have not a clue as to what it means or what it is.  But I can say is that when I decided not to be afraid of it and embrace it the pain dissipated immediately.   Again, I don’t know what the popping and cracking sounds are.  But the thought that it is God or that I am growing in my spiritual journey is very encouraging for me to continue with my quest for truth.  I pray that you have peace and good health.
Avatar universal
I don't know... that sounds way out there to me.  The popping and crackling drives me absolutely nuts.  Just because the docs can't find anything wrong doesn't mean there isn't.  To me it just means they're not looking in the right place.  There has to be some other kinda tests besides an MRI.  Yes there's no tumor or railroad spike in my head, but clearly something more subtle is going on which would not show up on that type of test.  Someone I just spoke with suggested I get a qEEG done and see a craniosacral specialist.  So for right now I am going to try that route.  Clearly something is screwed up in there somewhere because our heads are not designed to crack and pop all day.  And my head is certainly no interstellar antenna to god.  Thats cool if you can have peace thinking in that manner, but for me I really need this to stop.  I really do appreciate the response, but I need to address this medically and figure out how to get this fixed.

thanks again and goodluck!
Rob
Avatar universal
anyone?  
Avatar universal
Hi,

It is a very unusual case and something that I have not seen either.
Are you still meditating?
The symptoms are suggestive of neuralgia. These are painful disorders of the nerves and they cause episodes of excruciating burning or stabbing type of pain.
I would suggest you to consult a neurologist who specializes in neuralgias. Take care!

Avatar universal
Hi,
Thanks for the reply!  Tell me about it... Its so unusual and bizarre I still cannot believe that it happened and that I am still suffering from it.  I only meditated that time and that was it.  I haven't done it since, and this was 8 months ago now, yet the symptoms haven't improved.  
Avatar universal
Hello Rob,

I am very sorry about your condition, but I am glad to hear you are remaining positive, considering.  I have a condition that bears some resemblance to yours, yet I too am in the dark and the 1 primary doctor and 1 neurologist I have seen have not been able to help.  I had an eeg, spinal tap, MRI, blood test; all came back negative.
  I have had a constant pressure sensation on the crown of my head for a little over 6 months.  (Would you describe it as this?)  I also have experienced a crackling sensation, but only when I run; and also a clicking in my ear which occurs a little more easily.  In addition, it has been hard to concentrate and my memory is noticeably worse, especially with recall of words.  (How about you?)
  I think that the crackling sensation has something to do with the meninges.  Along the crown of the head, the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is reabsorbed through a specialized portion of meninges.  Obstruction here, can result in the pressure sensation, (you didn't mention pressure though), from a build up of CSF.  I think the crackling is related to this hypothetical situation.  If this is true, a spinal tap should offer temporary relief, at least after the headache that results from the spinal tap itself.  This was true in my case.

I will see my neurologist again on the 15th and talk to her about this.  I'll let you know how that goes.  And please let me know if you find out anything yourself.  When is your next appt. and have you found any other useful sites?  

I too have been trying to remain positive, that is the last thing that I have control of it seems.

Best Wishes
Sarhas
Avatar universal
Hi Sarhas,

I have also had pressure in the head.  That is definitely one of my symptoms.  Since I last posted on here, I've seen a cranio sacral therapist 3 times.  He said that my cranial bones were all stuck together, and I had no cranial rhythm, which can cause all sorts of problems.  Like I said he treated me 3 times, but to be honest I don't feel all that much better.  

I've also spoken with a Chinese doctor who stated that she has run into people with similar symptoms after doing Qi Gong, and she has had success treating them with traditional Chinese Medicine.  Unfortunately she is in Beijing right now, so if I was to go this route, I would have to order medicine from China, as it is not available in Pittsburgh where I live.  If you are close to someone who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, that may be something you want to look into.

I also just went to Cleveland Clinic where they did an MRI of my cervical spine.  There were a few issues they noticed, that my spine was too straight, and also some minor disc issues.  I was told that these could cause symptoms like I have, so I have been referred for physical therapy on my neck.  I've gone twice, and have been doing exercises at home.  I'll let you know how that goes.

I was also told to look into Reiki, which I have not done yet, so I can't really comment on it.

But that's pretty much where I am at this point.  It might feel a little better but after 9 1/2 months its nowhere near the improvement that I should have had.  After all the doctors and alternative specialists I've seen, I feel this should have been corrected long ago...
Avatar universal
Also, I have had no problems with memory or anything like that.  Just the pressure, soreness, crunching, grinding, crackling...
Avatar universal
Were you trying out the meditation because you were under unusually high stress?  And also my guess is that the symptoms didn't occur from some enlightened state per se, but perhaps do to heavy breathing.
Either way, I ask about the stress because, I was referred to a psychiatrist and put on two anxiety medications and now I feel normal again.  Remember, I had suffered my symptoms for 6 months, and the relief occured in days.  It is very difficult for me to believe that I can have such a severe response to stress, especially due to my healthy lifestyle, but you've got to deal with the cards you've been given.  So please, visit a psychiratrist as another option, you seem to have done everything else.

Also to be thorough, I began to feel better 1 and a half days before beginning the medication.  I'm not sure if this was due to the natural variation in my condition (there had been other times where I felt ok but then quickly went back to the same conditions) or if it was due to two other things I had recently begun.

1.  I have always been naturally creative (right brain type stuff), but for the last several years I have been really testing the left side of the brain, (I am an undergraduate physics major and working in a neurobiology lab).  So I thought that my symptoms were the result of straining my brains natural functions, so I deliberately began to engage in right brain activities to allow the left side of the brain to rest and to exersize the right brain.  (Again I was desperate so anything that made the least bit of sense I tried).  I think this is related to my memory problems, which are fine now, and probably doesn't apply to you.

2.  I was taking cinnamon every morning because it makes my nose runny.  I thought that perhaps the pressure on the top of my head was due to the inability for the mucus to drain.  On the top of the head is the superior sagittal sinus.  And this might have explained the cracking sensation, because perhaps air bubbles could get into that?   So I figured spiced make my nose runny, and maybe this would offer some relief.  (Many cultures use many spices in their foods).  Hey it can't hurt.  But this theory doesn't explain the crackling in you neck.  That's still a mystery to me.

The theory that I believe is most likely at work, is that stress causes the veins to dilate, perhaps the sinuses too, and the crackling sensation is a result of this.  The bottom line, at least try anxiety medicine, and then see a psychologist to try to find the underlying source of your stress (that is of course if you have it).  At this point you just want to feel better so you should not feel the least bit embarrassed about seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist.  In fact I think it's becoming a fad. j/k.

I don't know the name of the medication off hand, but I'll let you know.

Let me know how it works out for you?

Best,
Sarhas
Avatar universal
Hi,

The meditation technique was something that I accidentally came across on the web one evening, and I just tried it on a whim.  I had read articles which had stated that meditating was a very healthy practice, and so I figured I would give it a try... I try to live a healthy lifestyle, and I thought maybe this was something else that I could do that was good for me.  

I feel no shame in seeing a psychiatrist, but at the same time I don't really like being experimented on with mood changing drugs... what are the meds that you are taking?  Are they still providing relief?  

When this first started happening to me, my pcp gave me xanax, which helped me sleep, but really didn't curb the symptoms.  Then the first neurologist that I saw said there is no way that meditating could do this, so I must have an anxiety problem so he gave me antidepressants... It didn't make any sense to me, but I was desperate and figured since he was the doctor, he knew what he was talking about.  So I took them and had a really bad reaction.  He had me on Paxil and then Effexor... after my experiences with those, and feeling much worse than I did before... adding anxiety attacks, really bad insomnia, night sweats, dry mouth etc to the symptoms I already had was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire....  So I stopped taking those in late December, and it took about a month and a half before I could sleep normally again.

I am curious as to what you are taking though.  Also, if I may ask, how did your symptoms develop?  Was it over time or very sudden?  Were you doing anything specific when they first onset?

When this first happened to me, I had just moved into a new apartment which I love, in an area of town that I had wanted to move to for years... I had just gotten a new job really close to home that I was very excited about, so I was in great spirits.  Everything was going so well for me.  Then that one night I did that meditation, and then all of this came upon me like a ton of bricks.  And here we are 10 months later and I don't feel any better.
Avatar universal
I have been searnhing the internet for the past few weeks becasue I am having similar symptoms.  I bought some high quality meditation cd's that brought me down into the theta brain wave state.  I used them every night for 2 weeks.  They were great: very relaxing and helped me go to sleep.  On the next Monday morning and for the last 2 weeks things have pretty much gone to hell.  I have an ever-present dull headache with frequent intermittent "bursts" of crushing pain throughout my head, mostly in the back of my head.  Also, there are often sustained periods where I feel out-of-body.  I went to my doctor and everything checked out fine.  But this is really freaking me out.  I know it is from those meditation cd's.  The cd's have binaural beats, which sync both hemispheres of the brain, and I'm wondering whether the increased blood flow that results from such activity is responsible for what I have been going through.  Nevertheless, if this persists nd I cannot pinpoint the problem, I am suing the company that produces the cd's as well as Amazon.com, where I purchased them.  If anyone has any assurances they can offer, it would be very appreciative.
Avatar universal
Wow.  I don't know what to say... Honestly, I do think it is criminal that they sell this stuff online to an unsuspecting public.  Like I said above, I've been suffering for 10 1/2 months, and I'm still not better.  If you google "kundalini symptoms" or "kundalini problems" you'll find tons of stuff about people getting really screwed up from meditating.  I've read lots of horror stories which unfortunately now I have found to be all too true.  I haven't given up yet, but I've tried so many different things with no success.  It's so frustrating.  And yes what KILLS me is this stuff is still out there.  I told the owner of the company about my situation, and yet he still sells it.  I tried to write a testimonial for his page, yet he wouldn't post it.  Meanwhile, people still try this stuff and in my opinion are in extreme danger.... it makes me sick to the stomach.  That's why I've told everyone I know about what happened.  I've been posting comments online about what happened.  Anything I can do to try and spread the word.  Unfortunately, it seems like such a harmless technique to an outsider (myself included) that I would say nobody comes across this info until it's too late.
Avatar universal
I did look up kundalini and freaked myslef out after reading all about it.  The company I bought my cd's from, Brain-sync, has been around for 20 years and said they had never heard anything like this.  I can't imagine that is true given the severity of my symptoms.  I've also talked to the director of Holosync, the "leader" in brain wave entrainment cd's and he said my symptoms were perplexing, because Brain Sync is in fact a reputable company and said their product isn't very potent.  I don't know how much weight to give to the whole kundalini discussion, but there are people I guess that might be able to help you with it, such as kundalini yoga teachers.  I have always been a very practical person, never considered myself spiritual in the sense, but I am open to anything right now.  I have been exchanging emails with a "Core Synchronism" healer.  Core synch, in theory, has to do with cerebrospinal fluid and balancing all the body's systems.   I am revisiting my doctor, who is going to schedule a brain scan for me.  She says my symptoms, which now include nausea and ringing in my ears, are leading her to think that it is possibly a brain tumor.  I'd almost rather have a brain tumor than to feel as messed up as I do now.  At least I would know what was bothering me.  
Avatar universal
Yeah I'm not saying I buy their explanations about kundalini.  But what I am saying is there is a known phenomenon that when some people meditate, they can get really screwed up and there are a certain set of symptoms, where usually people will suffer from some of them.  The more mystical explanations are just people's attempt to explain what is happening, and to put it in a spiritual frame of reference... I would say the person Summerfox, who posted above in this thread is a perfect example of this.  He/she thought the cracking in their head was messages from god... maybe that helps them deal, but personally not something I buy into.  But the bottom line is this type of practice has really screwed people up, and it usually falls into one of these categories, you and myself included.  The thing that the kundalini term is useful for, is finding stories of other people suffering, not for explaining what is actually causing the problem.  Once again, there are tons of these stories online, so I really have a problem believing anyone who has been involved in these practices for 20 years (especially selling it to people)  claiming no knowledge of any possible side effects.

I"m going to another doctor today (I truly can't even begin to count how many I've seen) and I'll let you know if any good comes out of it.  I hear ya about almost wishing for a medical explanation, no matter what it is because the unknown has been driving me crazy for 10 1/2 months... its very frustrating too because once the docs run their standard tests and find nothing, then all of a sudden you're imagining it, and at least in my case they got very condescending.  But I just try and remain positive, and keep pressing on, trying new things... even though nothing has helped yet.  It's either that or crawl up and die which is not gonna happen.
Avatar universal
Do you have any good days mixed in?  I first felt like this for a few days then the symptoms went away for awhile and now they are back again.  The route I am going to take is to let whatever neurologist I go to study the cd's I listened to.  Because the cd's bring you inth theta brainwave state, at least I can use this knowledge to determine what might be going on.  If they can hook me up to an EEG and notice abnormal theta brainwave activity, I can prove what it is going; then I will proceed to sue the hell out of the company and Amazon.  Also was wondering about how you can function at work; with all these symptoms I'm having I can still basically do everything I could before but it's just like I don't feel like me; plus I have to deal with the headaches, "spacing out," and the ringing/hissing in my ears.  Hope everything goes ok with your doctor.  I have an MRI scheduled for Monday.  Will let you know how it goes.
Avatar universal
Sorry for the immediate follow-up to my last post but I have my own theory what might be happeing, at least in my case: the binaural beat tracks I listened to are meant to sync both hemispheres of the brain.  A normal result of this is that there will be increased blood flow to the brain.  Perhaps after two weeks, the continued increased blood supply coused some type of injury and/or pressure against the skull.  The best I can describe my symptoms are: physical - constant headaches with intermittent sharp bursts of pain;, ringing in ears;  perception - feels distorted. Nothing overtly wrong with my vision or hearing but it's like there is a disconnect betwen what I see and how I want to respond vs. how the events are registering in my brain... basically I can't will myself to be the person I want to be.  It would be much appreciated if any doctor on this forum can add some insight.
Avatar universal
Found an interesting article: http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/brundage_sandy_warningmeditatingmaybehazardous.htm

Avatar universal
Sorry to keep bombarding you fantomas, but I've been researching as much as possible on this.  Here's another interesting article: http://books.google.com/books?id=jrkq7s2i12EC&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154&dq=meditation+hazardous&source=web&ots=gSwWMPXZfp&sig=Nn61KPjAvlznjwE9fR73g3rRe2c&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result#PPA5,M1
Avatar universal
Hi there.  I wonder if you might get an answer from more metaphysical healers.  Get a perspective from those who really know meditation and have heard of these things.  Try posting your question on the ****.*** forum.  Or perhaps someone from ****.*** can help you.  
Avatar universal
Hi vrenaf,

the forums you listed did not show up properly.  it looks like this website has some kinda of filters to prevent you from posting links.  maybe type out "dot" instead of writing one...

thanks!
Avatar universal
Hey... sorry I didn't get notified of your last replies....  Do I have any good days?  Well I would say that some days it seems to be lessened... a lot more bearable than others.  However, even with these more than welcomed improvements, I haven't been totally symptom free in over a year at any given time, which is just so nuts to me.

I read the link you sent from google... very interesting and also very scary.  clearly that stuff is very dangerous.  it amazes me that the neurologists that i saw acted like i was nuts.  this information should clearly but more widespread... at the very least so that more people don't try this stuff.  

i still feel totally like myself and have normal emotions, etc.  i just have the physical symptoms.  

have you made any progress?  
anything new from any of your docs?
Avatar universal
Did you ever find resolution to your problems? I have had facial pressure witth a crackling sensation behind my nose and ears feeling clogged for 4-5mos. I've had CT,MRI and blood tests, but still no results.
Avatar universal
By meditating you have let a demon in. Seriously!  This is a symptom of a demon possession.  
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