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Dizziness, heaviness in head. It cannot be stress. What is it?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I've been suffering from dizziness and a heavy head feeling. It's like blood is rushing to my head. I went to the urgent care, they did an exam and blood tests and couldn't find anything wrong. I'm positive it's not stress related. Help.
Posted Tue, 1 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 6 hours later

Thanks for the query

Dizziness may be caused or attributed by a wide variety of things. Some of the causes of dizziness require immediate medical attention. The term dizziness (or dizzy) means different things to different people, so it is difficult to define. So I would like to know "feeling dizzy" mean lightheadedness or the feeling of weakness and almost passing out? Or does it refer to the sensation of vertigo, in which a person feels as if they have just gotten off a merry-go-round?
We can take this discussion further once you let me know which one of the two, (dizziness or lightheadedness) are you suffering from.
Dizziness (lightheadedness) is often caused by a decrease in blood supply to the brain, while vertigo may be caused by disturbances of the inner ear and the balance centers of the brain.

So I personally feel a good history, physical examination and consultation with Neurologist/Physician would be of benefit to you. Blood tests, cardiac evaluation and tilt table test may be required to know the causes of dizziness. If it is vertigo possibility of BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) and vertiginous migraine needs consideration.

Let me know if I have missed out any other concern in your question.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Dizziness, heaviness in head. It cannot be stress. What is it? 24 minutes later
Thank you for your follow-up. I should be more clear: it's not exactly a lightheaded effect or even a vertigo... it's more like my head is heavy and is being pulled down. I feel a lot of pressure in my head, but not pain. I have no nausea or headaches or impaired vision. I'm experiencing a tingly feeling all over my head and neck as well.
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 44 minutes later

Thanks for getting back to us.

From the clarification, it looks like that you have "Tension type headache" rather than dizziness or vertigo. Tension-type headache pain is often described as a constant pressure, as if the head were being squeezed in a vise. The pain is frequently bilateral which means it is present on both sides of the head at once. Tension-type headache pain is typically mild to moderate, but may be severe.

Various precipitating factors may cause TTH in susceptible individuals like stress, sleep deprivation, hunger, eye strain, dehydration and caffeine withdrawal.

Tension headaches do not occur as a symptom of another condition. It is usually possible to receive relief through treatment. Relief is contained by tablet aspirin 325 mg every 6 hours. This needs to be taken with food. Medications like tricyclic antidepressants have been found to be more effective in the prevention of TTH. Since these are prescription drugs, I would be unable to prescribe them for you in this forum.

So I personally feel consultation with a neurologist would be of benefit to exclude other causes and to start you on medication for the prevention of chronic TTH.

Wishing you good health.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Dizziness, heaviness in head. It cannot be stress. What is it? 11 minutes later
The problem is, it's never painful. It just feels weird and uncomfortable. The feeling doesn't occur on both sides of my head, but rather it's central on the lower back of my head. It's worse when I'm sitting or laying down. And also, I've been taking advil but it hasn't relieved any symptoms at all.
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 37 minutes later

I understand it’s more of a nuisance rather than a headache.

Most of my patients with similar symptoms have been benefitted by a short course of tricyclic antidepressant. I would recommend you the same - to try a small dose of tricyclic antidepressants rather than advil for a period of 6-8 weeks. I am sure you too will benefit from it.

In addition regular strengthening exercises to strengthen the neck and the shoulder muscles will help you. If symptoms persist consult Neurologist to exclude other causes.

Thanks again for the query.

Wish you good health.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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