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What causes pressure in head?

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Posted on Wed, 25 Nov 2015
Question: My 20 year old daughter is complaining of pressure in her head and she has been dropping things
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

It might have been useful to know some more information such as the time of onset of symptoms (days, weeks, months), manner of onset (abrupt or gradual progression), other symptoms accompanying the headache like nausea and vomiting, weakness of the limbs on one side, vision changes, abnormal behavior, fever etc, other medical conditions or medications (including, anxiety, sleep issues etc).

Based on the current information, if it is only an occasional head pressure sensation without any other symptoms I would have said the most probable diagnosis to be tension type headache, the most common primary headache (primary meaning without an identifiable cause), often triggered by stress and anxiety, necessitating only the occasional pain killer like Ibuprofen and relaxation techniques.
However you add an element which is a little worrying, that she is dropping things. If by that you mean dropping things because on weakness or lack of coordination on one limb then that should be taken seriously because it could be a sign of a brain lesion. So if she has such weakness of the limb on the one side brain imaging to investigate for such lesion is necessary (lesions like stroke, tumor, infection etc).

I remain at your disposal for further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (35 minutes later)
Thankyou for your reply . The pressure in her head has been going on for several weeks, when she bends her head she says it feels like her head is going to explode . Again the dropping of things has been over a few weeks .
I'm concerned because she isn't prone to complaining about her health
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for that additional info.

So it is a new headache, persistent for weeks, in someone who hasn't suffered from headache in the past.

That description doesn't comply with primary headaches like tension type headache or migraines which episodes do not last that long, not at their debut at least.
That along with the weakness leading to dropping things, as well as the feature of augmenting when bending forward (could be a sign of increased intracranial pressure, although not specific, may happen with sinusitis or other benign headaches) does make probing necessary preferably with brain imaging.

I imagine brain imaging might not be available right away depending on health system organisation where you live, but at least obtain as soon as possible a visit with you primary physician to check for other physical signs (motor strength in the limbs, spasticity, reflexes) in order to decide how urgent it is.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3669 Questions

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What causes pressure in head?

Brief Answer: Read below Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. It might have been useful to know some more information such as the time of onset of symptoms (days, weeks, months), manner of onset (abrupt or gradual progression), other symptoms accompanying the headache like nausea and vomiting, weakness of the limbs on one side, vision changes, abnormal behavior, fever etc, other medical conditions or medications (including, anxiety, sleep issues etc). Based on the current information, if it is only an occasional head pressure sensation without any other symptoms I would have said the most probable diagnosis to be tension type headache, the most common primary headache (primary meaning without an identifiable cause), often triggered by stress and anxiety, necessitating only the occasional pain killer like Ibuprofen and relaxation techniques. However you add an element which is a little worrying, that she is dropping things. If by that you mean dropping things because on weakness or lack of coordination on one limb then that should be taken seriously because it could be a sign of a brain lesion. So if she has such weakness of the limb on the one side brain imaging to investigate for such lesion is necessary (lesions like stroke, tumor, infection etc). I remain at your disposal for further questions.