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Experiencing shock sensation in head, pins and needles in arms. What am I suffering from?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions

I periodically experience a "shock" or "zap-like" sensation in my head/brain which lasts for about 1 second, before sending needles and pins down my arms. The needles and pins usually take about 3 to 5 minutes to go away.

These "zaps" happen randomly and come without warning. They completely disable me for that second and are quite "painful" if one could describe it as such. They also cause "white noise" in my ears for that second.

After such a "zap" occurs I usually feel physically exhausted.

The closest thing to an explanation for this seems to be withdrawal from antidepressants but I have not taken any such medication for more than 3 years.

I've been experiencing these zaps/shocks for approximately 18 months now, some months are worse than others.

I hope you will be able to shed some light on this as it is really worrying me and till date no one has been able to explain what these are.
Posted Sun, 5 May 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 36 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.

From your symptoms, any thunder clap headaches should be ruled out and you need to get a CT scan or MRI head done. It can also be due to nerve impingement (pinched nerve), which can originate in the neck (cervical spine). This condition called “Brachial Neuritis”, or “Brachial Neuralgia”, is due to the involvement of the group of nerves exiting from the spinal vertebrae, called the “Brachial Plexus”.

This can be confirmed by MRI spine and nerve conduction velocity test done by a neurologist.

It is important to correct any posture imbalances that you may have, whether in a sitting posture or in a standing posture. It is also very important to make sure that the pillow you use under your head is the correct size and thickness for your body. Avoid stretching of shoulders, lifting any heavy weights and add diets XXXXXXX in calcium, vitamins especially vitamin B 12 to daily routine.
Hope this answers your query.

If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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