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Fullness in head
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tampagrl32 posted:
Hi, I'm hoping someone here may be able to shed some light on these feelings I've been having over the past few days. I've had dizziness/vertigo and tinnitus for several years and that comes and goes. The "newest" symptom that has been really horrible the last few days is this feeling of fullness in my head. I feel almost like I'm out of my own body sometimes and it is really driving me crazy-literally. I've been to an ENT and a neurologist and had MRI's done and everything appears to be normal. But it feels like my brain is swelling and throbbing inside my skull. I don't know what else to do. Has anyone ever experienced this? AJ
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RedBear2005 responded:
Has anyone done a test to assess the fluid pressure in your central nervous system fluid in the spine? Likewise, was the MRI done at maximum resolution (1-millimeter thin-slice MRI with 3-D reconstruction post-procedure)? MRI facilities and procedures are by no means at all "equal" in the quality of results generated. For that matter, has anyone positively diagnosed the CAUSE of your tinnitus? It seems possible to me that the symptoms you are now reporting could be a newly emerging evidence of some common and chronic condition. One of the candidates to be examined might be a vascular compression of one or both primary nerve ganglia on the two sides of your brain, which are involved in balance and hearing. MRI might not conclusively reveal such compressions unless they are truly major. A doctor can tell you what other procedures are available. If I had a family member in your situation, I would advise them to seek a second opinion, and a full explanation for how the doctor will perform a differential diagnosis to distinguish what you're experiencing now from earlier symptoms -- or alternately identify a common process that has caused both. I wish you wellness. Go in Peace and Power
 
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DLynnLutz responded:
Sounds similar to some of my symptoms I previously had. After many months, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (aka Pseudotumor Cerebri). The condition happens when there is a problem with too much spinal fluid building up in the head. This can cause headaches, tinnitus, and a feeling of fullness and pressure (especially with the eyes and ears). Have you had a spinal tap? This can check the pressure of the spinal fluid. Also, has anyone looked at your eyes, especially your optic discs? By looking in your eyes, they can see if you have some pressure building up.
 
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tampagrl32 responded:
Thanks for your reply. I have not had a spinal tap but I did have my eyes looked at and a special test done to look at the optic nerve. There weren't any abnormalities there. How did they finally figure out that is what you had? How do you manage the condition, with meds? Do you know if the spinal fluid build up can repeatedly happen, even if you take care of it the first time? This is unnerving and I'm a little freaked out about the possibilty of having to get a spinal tap. I've heard nightmare stories about this procedure. AJ
 
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DLynnLutz responded:
In the beginning, my eyes/optic nerves looked normal too. After a month of the symptoms, I finally asked for a spinal tap to be done, even though I hate them. I had bad experiences with spinal taps before. But, being a nurse, I knew that is what needed to be done to get another piece to the puzzle. All my MRIs, CTs, and labs were normal, so a spinal tap was the next step. If this is the diagnosis (Intracranial Hypertension/Pseudotumor Cerebri), there are medications that doctors will try. There are medications to decrease the production of spinal fluid, and there are medications to increase the absorption of spinal fluid. Plus, if a specific cause is identified, there are other options. I found that if the spinal tap was done under flouroscopy (special x-ray guidance), it was much better. IIH/PTC is a condition which can cause symptoms to occur repeatedly off and on. In my case, my symptoms would be really bad, then get better, then get really bad again. Many things can worsen the symptoms, such as activity levels. I noticed that on days I worked 12-hour shifts my symptoms would be worse over the next few days. I hope I have helped answer your questions.
 
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tampagrl32 responded:
Yes, thank you this have been very helpful. I have an appointment with a different neurologist next month to see if I can get a different diagnosis. Being a nurse, do you know how often people have serious complications from spinal taps? I too find that some days it feels worse than others. If I exercise, I feel better the next day. If I do nothing than I feel worse. If it does turn out to be an excess of spinal fluid, what are the potential repercussions if I don't get it taken care of? Can this result in other more serious complications, or even death? Thanks again for your willingness to reply to my questions. AJ
 
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DLynnLutz responded:
I don't know the exact statistics, but many people experience complications from spinal taps. The most frequent complications are 'low-pressure' headaches, followed by back pain and stiffness. If Intracranial Hypertension is left untreated, it may lead to visual problems (blurring, double vision, blindness) or neurologic deficits. The visual problems can be very serious, and is most affected by the chronic, continuous high pressure on the back of the eyes. The blindness may be permanent if not treated properly and in a timely manner. That's why it's important to see an ophthalmologist who specializes in neurological disorders.
 
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stillwonderin responded:
I have the exact same problem as you! When I read your post I was surprised to see someone else has the same problem as I because I've had a difficult time trying to describe it and you described it well. Every morning when I get up, I basically feel as though I've been electrocuted.. very weak with extreme fullness in my head.. nerve pain and feeling really "out of it". Feels like my brain is swollen, sinuses swollen shut but without any allergy symptoms (no sneezing, watery eyes, etc.).. I can actually feel pressure in my lower back, as if somethings in there. I wish there was some way we could talk 1-on-1 because no one understands what I'm going through. Fortunately, I'm seeing a rheumatologist? right now who seems to want to hone in on my problem. He DID mention spinal tap immediately upon my visit which encouraged me to believe he "knows" something. Anyway, I've had many tests but as the saying goes.. You have to see MANY doctors before someone hits the nail on the head.
 
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stillwonderin responded:
...I failed to mention that I too also have chronic tinnitus at a level most would consider absolutely intolerable. It seriously affects my ability to concentrate. I am hoping that a spinal tap will reveal that all of my symptoms are a result of fluid "overpressure" which is reaping havoc on my central nervous system, and the tinnitus is the "nerve chaos" which I am hearing. It would follow that any irregularities of the spinal cord could affect numerous body processes, resulting in numerous symptoms. If anyone out there can help me or provide guidance, I would greatly appreciate it! For now, I am putting ALL OF MY FAITH in my rheumatologist.
 
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afisher29349 responded:
I was also diagnosed with pseudo tumor cerebri. It began during my annual eye exam when my ophthalmologist found swelling on my optic nerve. I also had tinnitus and a feeling of fullness in my head. It was difficult to concentrated, because I felt like my head was in the clouds. My MRI was normal except for swelling in my brain caused by excess spinal fluid, so I received a spinal tap to drain the excess fluid. I had a horrible spinal headache for five days. As long as I was laying flat my head didn't hurt at all, but I couldn't stand up longer for 30 seconds. This is supposed to be a rare symptom, so if you have a spinal tap you won't necessarily have such extreme symptoms. On the bright side, the spinal tap totally cleared my head. It was as if I could see everything clearly again and the tinnitus stopped. I was prescribed a diuretic to keep my fluid levels low. Occasionally I have tinnitus for a few seconds every now and then, but my symptoms are much better. The only way (as my neurologist told me) to tell if this condition is gone is by looking in your eyes and seeing no swelling of the optic nerve. Often you have to have repeated spinal taps to take pressure off the brain. After being diagnosed last spring I have only had to have one spinal tap. My doctor told me that losing weight also helps the condition go away. I hope this helps, and I hope you feel better soon!


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