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Pulsation and constriction of vein in temple, jaw locked, dizzy, lightheaded. Worried.

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Practicing since : 2001
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I have a pulsating feeling in the right side of my head that starts from where my ear begins and it goes up to the top of my temple. The pulsating gives a feeling like a constrict hose garden. You know the feeling when you step on the garden hose and water rushing through it. It's a weird and scary feeling.

When this happens, I feel like my jaw is locked. Please note that it doesn't lock. But when it happens the jaw hurts temporarily. I would like to emphasize the word temporary, because it lasts in fraction of a second. But it hurts a little. On the scale of 10, I would say 3/10. Occassionally when this happens, I also have pressure on both of my jaws. Sometimes on my face in the cheek area. The jaw pain doesn't always present when this pulsating happens. It happens seperately and sometimes in tandem with the pulsating. I talked to my doctor about the jaw pain without mentioning the pulsating of the vein, and he thought that it was TMJ, but I doubt it.

On top of that I have being feeling dizzy and lightheaded. The lightheaded and dizzy come especially pronounced when I don't have enough sleep. I typically sleep 4-5 hours a day. I used to drink a lot of coffee, but recently it has my heart racing so I stop. My blood works taken in April, 2011yielded a decent score. Cholesterol = 152. Blood pressure ranges between 120-130 over 78-80. Pulse is about 77. My sugar is 103. I'm a overweight (189lbs; 5'3"). My job requires me to use a PC +12hours a day. My right eye has tear/scar due to my son inadvertenly poked close to 10 yrs ago when he was young. I always have to use artificial tear to wet both eyes every morning. I understand that come for heavy PC usage. What worries me most is the pulsating and the constricted feeling of my vein in my temple.
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 6 hours later
Hello and Thanks for the query.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

From the details provided to me it looks like you have pulsatile or throbbing headache, pain in jaw and dizziness. Possibilities could be a migraine or a tension type headache. The symptoms being unilateral on the right side I feel it could be a migraine headache. But I would like to know few details from you before I conclude.

1. Does the pulsatile feeling occurs with headache?

2. Visual disturbances before the start of symptoms?

3. Nausea, vomiting, photo or phonophobia ?

4. Ear problems like fullness, tinnitus or hearing loss?

5. Frequency and duration of the pulsatile feeling.

Please provide me these details to help you in a better way. I am sorry you are dealing with this frustrating concern and I hope you can find yourself in better health soon.

Take care. Bye
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pulsation and constriction of vein in temple, jaw locked, dizzy, lightheaded. Worried. 2 hours later
Answer to question 1: No. The pulsating doesn't come with headache. In fact, I don't have any headache at all.

Answer to question 2: No. My vision is normal before, during, after the pulsation. It doesn't blur

Answer to question 3: No. I don't have any nausea, vomitting, photo, or phonophobia

Answer to question 4: No. No ear problems like fullness or hearing loss. However, the jaw pain tends to concentrate in the proximity of the ear. It's close to the earlobe

Answer to question 5: I depends on my lack of sleep and my "anxiety." I put anxiety in quotation because I don't really know if that's the right term. However, when I become tense and can't sleep. The next morning I tend to have that. It lasts for about a day. I usually "cure" it by drinking fruit juice, especially soy milk. However, I also notice something. That is, whenever I have a large meal/dinner with red meat or something "unhealthy" I tend to have that pulsation.

Last but not least, occassionally, I have headache. The severity is not up to that of a migrain. Basically, I feel like a band wrap around the top of my head. And the center of my head (top view) is "frozen." On separate occasion, the back of my head aches, and the base of my head (where the neck muscle connects to the skull) is tense.

Please note that all of these things do not occur all at once. They occur separately. The pulsating usually doesn't occur with all the headache. The jaw pain sometimes occur independently. The dizziness and lightheadedness also do not occur with the headache.

Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 8 hours later

Thanks for providing me the required details

I feel personally at this point of time that all your symptoms are probably related to psychogenic stress and anxiety. Nearest possibility I can think of is "tension type headache" and a variant of "migraine'. But usually these have mild or severe headache associated with the other symptoms.

But before we conclude you need to rule out a possibility of vascular anomaly near the right inner ear as this can cause some of the symptoms mentioned to me. You need to see a Neurologist to rule out this possibility and Benign positional vertigo which can cause dizziness and light headedness. I am sorry you are dealing with this frustrating problem and I hope you can find yourself in better health soon after consulting your Neurologist and get yourself evaluated in detail for the said problems.

Wish you good health.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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