Posted 4/22/2014 10:48 AM (GMT -7)
So I have been experiencing a chronic sensation of head pressure (or tightness) for exactly a year now. I say head pressure and not headache because this is definitely not a typical headache. It is not (usually) a painful sensation but rather an extremely uncomfortable one. It literally feels like there is not enough room in my skull for my brain or like someone is constantly squeezing my head. From time to time I have experienced pain/pressure in my face, especially around/behind my nose and in my jaws, as well as twitching eyelids. I also experienced vertigo and lightheadedness. I have been to several doctors who have ruled out everything after going through C-T scans and MRIs. A neurologist put me on klonopin for 10 months which treated the symptoms pretty well but the side effects made me feel miserable and whenever the drug would wear off the head pressure and face pressure/pain symptoms would come back just as bad as before. Now I am not on any medication, and can say that the symptoms are not as bad as they were 1 year ago, but the fact that I still experience them almost all day everyday makes them bothersome nonetheless. Also want to mention that I have been tested for Lyme and I do not have it, so this problem does exist beyond the cause being bacterial and viral infections.
I will say, that I firmly believe that this is not a problem that can be fixed with standard medication. From my experience, having gone from where I was a year ago to where I am today, I can tell you that anticonvulsants and other medication used to treat headaches/migraines are not the cure or the answer to a problem like this. They may treat symptoms but they do not cure the problem.
When I became determined to get off the medication that I was on, I began exercising for 30 minutes 4-5 times a week (bike or treadmill). I had initially thought that I would never be able to get off the meds because whenever they wore off I felt a terrifying sensation of impending doom, like I was going to have a seizure or worse. However, through my exercise regimen, I was able to drop the meds completely and now my symptoms are far less severe than they were before I started taking the meds.
No one wants to hear this but unfortunately the fact is that anxiety is a major factor in these situations. Stress is a real chemical that our bodies produce (cortisol) which is interconnected with anxiety levels. When our bodies produce too much of it, it can lead to a myriad of health problems, including neurological. Based on my experience and the progress that I have made thus far, I firmly believe that in order to get better, you MUST eliminate stress from your life. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done with a problem that haunts you like this day in and day out, you can't help but feel anxious and hopeless at times. Here are my recommendations for everyone:
1) Exercise is essential, 30 mins 4-5 days a week will do wonders for your (mental) health, exercise is clinically proven to release growth factors in the brain that cause neurogenesis (new brain cell growth), and exercise also lowers the amount of cortisol (stress) in the body.
2) DO NOT TAKE PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS - I promise these will only cause you to become physically dependent and will not cure you of the problem
3) Try taking natural supplements that help reduce cortisol/stress levels, the one that I have been taking is called Ashwagandha which was recommended to me by a real psychiatrist and not some alternative medicine person without an M.D. This herb is clinically proven to reduce cortisol levels in the body. I would recommend buying "Sensoril" which is a patented highly potent form of Ashwagandha. With high levels of cortisol/stress in the body, it can become impossible for your condition to go away, this is a fact. It’s a very cheap supplement, only costs about $10-$15 dollars. Although you may feel a difference initially when taking this, you must take it for several weeks to fully realize the effect as your body will start to adjust only once cortisol levels are reduced for a prolonged period.
4) Vitamins - you don't need to run out and buy every vitamin in the store but there are a few vitamins that promote brain health that I have found to be of help, namely the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA, and Uridine. Together these substances have been shown in studies to create new brain synapses through neurite growth and even treat symptoms of depression.
5) Find activities that relax you, I am going to be trying Hot Yoga soon per the advice of my doctor.
6) SLEEP – our brains need sleep to heal. When we sleep our brains (and bodies) undergo a process that heals us that does not happen when we are awake. Sleep deprivation also causes increased stress/cortisol/anxiety so it is essential that you get adequate sleep
As I’ve said, I am still dealing with this problem, but my symptoms are nowhere near how bad they were a year ago when this first started. I think anything involving the head/brain is innately a tricky thing; although the brain is not a static organ, it takes time and requires the right ingredients and regimen to heal. I will respond to this thread in a month or so with an update on how I feel. I urge you all to seek a remedy like mine which I can tell you from experience has absolutely made a difference for me and my quality of life. Good luck to you all.