Daily pulsating head pressure

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/23/2005 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not even sure how to describe this anymore, but let me start from the beginning and hope that maybe someone can offer some advice on what I might be able to do. My whole life has been relatively headache free up until April of this year. I got some tingling in my face, accompanied by constant pressure on the top of my head. The pressure is more like a pulsating feeling, as though you could feel the blood pumping in your skull. For a few days that week I could barely sleep because of the tingling, and eventually that subsided.

Now, I have daily pressure on both my skull and my face, with the pulsating feeling on the top of my skull being a very constant distraction. I'm at a computer all day being a web developer, but have tried staying away and that doesn't work.

My chain of action has been:
Chiropractor (thinking it was a back issue)
Allergist (nope, wasn't allergies. i've had them since i was in 2nd grade)
CAT Scan in June revealed a 7mm cyst in my pineal gland. was told by numerous doctors that this has no correlation
Ear Nose and Throat Doctor told me it is not anything in my ears or sinuses, despite the amount of pressure on my face and in my right ear. I feel like I could constantly pop my right ear.

End result is that i saw a neurologist and he said i had chronic daily headaches and prescribed a mild anti-depressant. This doesn't work for me and only made me feel like i had vertigo. Pain killers, decongestants, none of it works.

Does anyone have anything that can help me? Another post said going to a psychologist to deal with pain was a good idea, and it's just to the point where i'm at work and it's not fun. it's killing me to be sitting here doing something that i should be loving and instead keep focusing on this pressure.

Heightens with stress and eye strain, lowers sometimes when i tell myself to breath and focus on something else. Longest I went without this was maybe a week since April.

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/24/2005 1:45 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Somaa,


It sounds like you have chronic daily migraines. The prescription for the mild anti-depressant sounds like a prescription for a preventative medication. You mentioned that pain killers and decongestants don't work, how many are you taking, because these could be rebound headaches as well.

I would go back to the neurologist and talk to him / her. You need a plan. If you're taking pain killers or decongestants regularly and they're causing rebound headaches you need to wean off them slowly to stop rebound headaches - but you will also need something for the pain.

There are medications called triptans that are very good at controlling migraine pain, don't have major side effects and aren't as bad at causing rebound headaches. They are used for treating the migraine.

Then there are preventative medications (like the mild anti-depressant) and taken daily. There are many types including anti-depressants, anti-seizure, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, to name a few. You need to work with your neurologist to figure out what's the best course of treatment. For example, I take a beta blocker and an anti-seizure medication. I also take an anti-depressant used for chronic pain which also works on the side effects caused by the anti-seizure medication.

Then there are prescription pain medications such as narcotics, NSAIDs that are stronger than over the counter (OTC) medications and are used in an emergency and are often more effective and are thus taken less often than OTC medications. For example I take Toradol (NSAID) and Tylenol 3s (Narcotic - use it very rarely now).

Educate yourself and if your neurologist won't work with you, find another one. Unfortunately there isn't a cure for migraines but it is possible to find a combination of lifestyle changes / choices and medications that can make life bearable.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.


Fall seven times, stand up eight.
                 --Japanese proverb

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 12/28/2005 4:01 AM (GMT -6)   

somaa what you are describing with the constant head pressure happens with me also. what i have found to be the cause is a rise in blood pressure. normally i do not have high blood pressure but there are times when it shoots up there. try taking an aspirin and taking it easy resting when that happens - that's the only thing that seems to help when it happens to me. also when you are experiencing the pressure find a way to get your blood pressure taken i bet thats what it is.

good luck to you,


Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 12/28/2005 4:05 AM (GMT -6)   
nicky toradol has worked very well for me in the past also, but it is actually a muscle relaxer

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/2/2006 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   
hey somaa, i have been diagnosed with chronic daily headaches and some of the symptoms u talk about are very familiar. Im on a medication called amitriptyline which seemed to be more effective than most other medications

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 1/5/2006 4:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I take both amitriptyline (antidepressant) and atenolol (beta blocker, which lowers BP). This is the combo my doctor prescribed, and since starting the amitrityline my headaches have definitly gone down in intensity and has made it more bearable (even though its there everyday all day).
It sounds like you might benefit from a beta blocker or another type of med that can lower your BP, I know that a lot of people's "pressure" headaches are alleviated by these types of meds, or at least lessened. Have you tried massage therapy yet? I went to an awesome massage therapist who completely relieved my neck pain a few months ago, and I am probably going to go back to her for the headaches too.
Good luck :)
"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful." - Marie Curie
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 1/9/2006 10:37 PM (GMT -6)   

the doctor has tried me on a few different blood pressure meds to see if it would help my headaches, but unfortunately i have had bad reactions to all of them. normally i do not have high b/p so the med makes it too low and me really ill. however my b/p does shoot up there at times- especially when i'm in pain.

you know i've been thinking i wonder if there is really such a thing as hemiplegic migraine. i mean i've been diagnosed as having that, but what if it's really undiagnosed tia or mini stroke??? i've had a CAT scan and MRA after my first hemiplegic migraine a couple years ago, but no scans since. does anyone know if this could be possible (to have a TIA or mini stroke and not have it show on the scans)? my symptoms are exact to that so i worry. i lose vision in one eye, get confused, cannot even remember simple things, have numbness and weakness in one side of my body, get nauseated, with severe headache following.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 4/7/2008 5:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Somma,
 I usually post on the migraine page but was looking for info on pineal cyst and came upon your post. I was told that i have a 11mm pineal cyst about two years ago when i experienced a episode of severe high blood pressure and the worst headache ever. My headache has never gone away, medication actually seems to increase the pain. I have the strange swishing in my ears and my blood pressure stays at about 150/100 even with meds. People all say that the cyst plays no part in the headache, and for some people I  am sure it doesn't effect them however, others it can be symptomatic. I have been treated for Daily Persistent Headache for two yearsand have still have not been able to find relief. I wish you the best of luck with treatment!

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/1/2009 1:21 AM (GMT -6)   
   I just came across this by accident and was curious by what you wrote. The symptoms you describe are extremely similar to mine and I was actually diagnosed with lyme disease after baffling the doctors for months of not finding anything. The best test for lyme is an igenex test I would really recommend at least giving it a shot. Lyme can manifest itself in many different ways and is called the great imitator for a reason!!! lemme know what happens...

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/28/2010 1:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I feel truly sorry for you as I have had this very problem for many years ago, however, mine is in the back of my skull. I too had scans, inner ear tests, and even a visit to a Psychiatrist. The experts finaloly said it was Vertigo and to live with it.
I can not lay on my back as the pressure on the back of my head triggers nausea. I must put a small roll behind my neck and then I am able to tolerate it. I think i have taken every conceivable medication, some of which made me more ill. Over the past 12 years it has subsideed somewhat but refuses to leave. At any given time I get dizzy and nauseated with no warning.
Good luck, hang in there.
Staleoldpop cry

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 663
   Posted 3/29/2010 11:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I too have the same kind of chronic daily headache. I am on alot of different meds for different conditions. When the chronic daily headache starts getting worse then usual I go to my doctor's and get a shot of toradol and phenergan (toradol alone makes me nauseous). That will usually bring it back down to a bearable pain. If I let the chronic headache get out of control it almost always will trigger a migraine. I hope you get some relief soon.
Gentle Hugs,
Fibromyalgia, Chronic daily headaches, Migraine disorder (with and without aura), GERD, High blood pressure, Depression and Anxiety
Oxycontin, Percocet for bt/pain, Flexeril as needed, Lopressor, Lexapro, Famotidine, and Promethazine as needed for nausea from migraines

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/2/2010 5:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Well all, it's five years later - I forgot the login to Somaa, so now I'm Somaaa lol. As it turns out, I STILL have daily headaches. After exploring the route of alternate therapy, I've found that acupuncture helps me quite a lot - sometimes I go four, five days without a headache (although they always do come back). Massage worked for a while, and I've definitely gotten my stress/pulse/blood pressure down without much success. Ultimately, I think it's an issue of posture + stress - when I don't watch myself, that's when the headaches develop. If I make sure to monitor both, things are ok. Just figured I'd follow up and let you all know where I'm at and see if anyone would like to correspond regularly.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 8/2/2010 11:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear somaaa,
I still have head pressure daily, 24/7, etc.  Absolutely killing me.  It only gets worse as the years go by.  I first got it 6 years ago and it has never relented for one single day since then.  The first 3 years were tolerable, the next 3 less so.  I have a lot more trouble sleeping now than I did just 2 years ago, which points to progressive worsening.
I just got health insurance and have a physical exam scheduled in a few weeks, so this is my "first move" toward reaching out for help for this problem.  What else should I do about it?

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/10/2010 7:38 AM (GMT -6)   
i'm seeing soooo many similarities in a lot of these posts. i have had migraine-type headaches but by far the most prevalent symptom is the "head in a vise" feeling. i also feel pressure in the neck at the arteries under the jaw, almost choking sensation. standing up triggers a horrible head rush, but not lightheaded. i call it heavy-headed, like all the blood rushed up. i can't hear over the blood rushing in my ears, my head throbs. bending over sometimes makes my head feel like it's going to explode. i have sinus issues, have had for many years but this pressure thing only started (at least this bad) in the last couple of years. ( aspartame does give me migraines and i understand that it affects many this way. i found out the hard way. )

the last bad time with it (pressure), i got on a probiotic, changed diet (no sugar, artificial sweeteners, only drank water and ate meats, vegetables and fruits), and it gradually went away (mostly). recently i had signs of a sinus infection and the dr put me on amoxicillin and a steroid pack. antibiotics and steriods are both very detrimental to your gut flora. and lo and behold, the horrible head vise is back. i'm hoping i can drive it away again. one note: i read (and confirmed, ow) that heavy doses of probiotics can cause headaches, supposedly due to the die-off of yeast. however they do taper off and go away.

i don't say that probiotics can cure all the problems (fatigue, anxiety, headaches, pressure, all of which i have) but they do seem to have mitigated them a good bit. they've certainly worked a lot better than the drugs the drs kept urging me to "try". (makes you realize why it's called a "practice", eh? ;-0)
i too have had multiple MRI's, CT's, blood work out the wazoo, etc. Dr's giving up and sloughing me off with antidepressants. so far the only abnormal test results were a CrP of 19, low aldosterol and cortisol, and speckled (inconclusive) AnA. oh yeah, and glaucoma that was apparently triggered by the month of Lyrica i "tried"... where the dr did not even warn me about the dangers of cold-turkey off of it.

bottom line, clean up your diet. stay away from artificial sweeteners and preservatives, clean out your gut, drink lots of water, and be very very careful about the drugs. i've read several threads here and a unifying theme seems to be that the prescribed drugs did more harm than good. i saw maybe 2 posts where they said drugs helped them unequivocally. Doctors that don't know what to do with you because all of their tests say you're fine, resort to a scatter-gun effect, trying drugs "just in case". Google everything before you take it. if i had, i wouldn't have taken any of the ones i was given.

so glad to see i'm not alone!

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/20/2010 3:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Re: post by Shadow090983 Sept./ '09
I, too, have pulsatile tinnitus which, I suspect, was caused by neurologic Lyme disease.
It started after 6 weeks of Mepron/Biaxin/Plaquenil.
Perhaps medication caused inflammation related to Lyme, or it could have been the medication itself which caused the problem.
MIR/MRA showed nothing. ENT wants CTA, but after meeting with www.whooshers.com
I doubt that there will be a good resolution to this.
Even if there were a structural problem, which just happened to start at the end of my Mepron (cumulative) regimen, surgical resolution is usually risky.
I've had it for 3 months....wondering how you are doing?

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/13/2013 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   

I wonder if you will ever see this message, but I believe I have an answer for you. It's something I'm very familiar and well-researched about -- it is your pineal cyst.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/14/2013 10:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had the same symptoms you've all described for about three months now. Tried narcotics, prednisone, indomethacin. Latter two might help slightly, but hard to tell. All docs point to each other, and head/sinus CTs have been negative. How did you find out about pineal cyst? Would that show on head ct?
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