Brain Zaps- Also Introduction

Hi everyone,
Just writing this is difficult, but I need help. I am new here. I have “migraines,” but not your typical migraines. They don’t cause me physical pain usually, they cause me head pressure. Almost like sinus pressure, but all over my head and more intense and constant. They can last anywhere from a couple minutes, up until 2 weeks (my longest one). Sometimes constant, sometimes on and off. This symptom sucks, but it isn’t my most worrisome symptom. My most worrisome symptom is the “brain zap” feeling I get with them. Some of the migraines start after I have had a particularly bad brain zap, some come on without much warning. The best way for my to describe the brain zap, is like I am sitting there, minding my own business, when all of a sudden it feels like I get an intense head rush and my brain feels like it kind of flips over or somersaults, and I get this shuddering in my brain. Mind you, the longest it has lasted is about 5 seconds, typically they last around 2 seconds. I also get a spinning type sensation in my head during it. Afterwards, I feel slightly disoriented, but I remember everything that had happened and remember the whole incident. I also get a kind of woozy feeling along with anxiety over what had just happened. It used to be I only got these once or twice a month, but ever since 2 days ago, I have had them a couple times and hour. THEY SCARE ME SO BADLY.

So, some more on my history. I have never been diagnosed with MAV. I just assumed that was what my neurologist meant when he told me my dizziness was from my migraines. I have had a CT scan- clear, and an MRI just two weeks ago that was what my neurologist said “normal.” So this really eased my mind for awhile, until this all started again.
Some of my other symptoms I experience include: blurry vision, feeling like objects are moving when they really aren’t, dizziness, lightheadedness, spinning (guess this goes along with the dizziness/vertigo aspect…), sometimes a burning up the back of my neck (weird??) like in my neck muscles back there, the head pressure (my main and original symptom), off balanced feeling, shakiness at times, tingling at other times, the occasional numbness anxiety due to this all…I am trying to think of others but they are escaping me right now, there are so many I lose count…

I am not on any SSRI’s or migraine meds at this point. My neurologist wants me to start Topamax, but I was trying to put it off as long as humanly possible. Not thinking that is going to work now with these symptoms coming back full force. I have been on Zoloft (6 month period- discontinued due to weight gain at the time), Lexapro (didn’t feel right on it), Paxil (again- didn’t feel right on it), and more recently Celexa. The Celexa didn’t work for me. It made me more depressed if anything (was on it for anxiety). I tapered that and discontinued it about 3-4 months ago now, so can’t imagine this would be from that? Was only on it a total of about 4 weeks or so. I did experience some brain zaps when withdrawing from the Zoloft awhile back (1 year and a half or so), that was the first time but there was a reasoning then so I wasn’t as worried. I am also on a beta blocker for an unrelated issue, and Humira for my Crohn’s disease. My GP is trying to get me back on Zoloft for the anxiety I am suffering, but I am scared to now, especially with all of these brain zaps.
UGH. I can’t win with this, it scares me a lot. If anyone can help, please do. Anything will help at this point. Also- currently waiting on a phone call from my neurologist on whether or not this is something to be concerned with- how the zaps have upped from occasionally to a bunch in the last few days.
I just feel so worn out and hopeless. This is zapping any of the energy I currently have left- which isn’t much.
Thanks again all- well wishes to you.

I am so glad to read this post, feeling so helpless at this time. I had 2 repeat concussions and a mild TBI in 2014. About 6 months after I started to get migraine headaches which lasted for several months. The brain zaps started one day when I was driving in a severe rain storm (flashing lights, stress).
I have had a migraine now for over 24 hours with brain zaps (including eye jerking to the left), nausea, vertigo especially when I move my eyes (also when I move my head), pressure, and moodiness. I take Effexor routinely and missed 1 dose 2 days ago, and we are having rain where I live. Plus yesterday was really stressful at work - ultimately multiple triggers.

I have taken 4 doses of Imitrex over the last 24 hours (makes me feel very sick), and after speaking with an on call MD took 2 extra doses of Gabapentin (maintenance migraine/seizure prevention med). The symptoms are not any better. I can go months without having a migraine, and then will have a cluster which is difficult.

I take B12, Omega 3-6-9 (Flax seed due to a fish/shellfish allergy), L-Theonine, and Melatonin all in hopes to prevent migraines. Sometimes that just doesn’t help. I guess ultimately I am frustrated today, feeling sad for myself, and just needed to vent to someone(s) who understand. Thanks for listening/reading.
Amy :frowning:

I see that this post is very old, but I have the exact same symptoms. I was just recently diagnosed with Migraines and I’m very skeptical that is what it is due to the brain zapping/electrical feeling I get. It is one of the scariest things ever. Mine only lasted seconds as well, but each time I have them they seem to get longer. I had one this past Friday that lasted for minutes. I had the ambulance called and was hospitalized for two days. MRI and CT appeared to be “normal”. I am on volume right now trying to get rid of the vertigo/dizziness. And I am And able to get around on my own having to use a walker or someone to help me do you to How dizzy I am. I am praying this goes away and I can get back to my normal life. As it is debilitating!

Hi. Sorry to hear yr troubles. If you have been diagnosed with MAV the symptoms you have are totally typical. Try not to think of migraine as ‘just’ headache. It can be and often is much more than that and plp commonly have attacks that last a few days rather than hours. Vertigo/dizziness accompanying it is quite common too. Most on here will have had that too. If you’ve got clear scan results, great. As soon as you can I would speak to yr doctor about the possibilities of taking preventatives and meanwhile have a read around this site where under Welcome and Wiki you’ll find lots of relevant information

Thank you for your response. It does help to hear but others have the same issues.

Someone posted this migraine guide and I keep going back to it as a great resource for regular and non-typical migraines:

I had brain zap stuff for several months after getting off Paxil. I think its entirely possible that because MAV is causing such a turmoil you aren’t ever really stabilizing on your SSRI, therefore you are getting symptoms that typically only present themselves while increasing or decreasing the dose. Of course this is just a theory, but in my case with Paxil this is what I felt was going on. I was on Paxil like 20 years ago and didn’t notice any side effects coming on or off it. This time though I took it for MAV and felt all kinds of weird symptoms from the first 10mg dose. One of them was really scary - it felt like I had icy-hot rubbed across my entire body. Almost called an ambulance, but it only lasted about 30sec.

That “Someone” was me. It’s good really great that guide. Glad I found it I’d have posted it in this thread myself earlier if I could have persuaded my Ipad to co-operate. I did try. So brilliant. Thanks for doing that. Helen


You’re literally the first person to mirror what is happening to me.
I created an account, just to ask (since some time has gone by), how are you doing?
Any changes?

Mine just began out of nowhere one day last March. It’s been 10 months and nothing has changed.
Open to provide more info if you’d like.