Head rushes or rushes of adrenaline

It is normal with migraine associated vertigo to get like syncope sensations while talking a lot or dizzy rushes while tensing up like at the computer. It feels like a rush of adrenaline going through my body or like i may pass out. It only last for a second or two but very scary. Like i am on a rollercoaster.

Hey Sarah,

By rushes I assume you mean vertigo?

I had short momentary rushes of dizziness when stressed and many short episodes of vertigo when standing or sitting at computer over the months I’ve had this.

Vertigo no longer visits me during the day now though. Just when in bed sometimes.

Hope you are doing better,


This is one of the things that sent me to the ENT. At first it was when I was at a traffic light, but then it would be at my computer or watching a TV show with lots of “movement” or talking to someone. The daytime attacks have subsided, but now I get it when I try and lie down and sleep (all night unless I take some ativan to sleep). I agree it is very scary and it’s like a “whoosh”? sensation and it can definitely spur a panic attack. If it’s during the day I focus on taking deep breaths and remind myself that it will pass and it’s not dangerous. Tough stuff though.
I have eliminated some dietary triggers and seems to keep it less frequent (beer, wine, chocolate…all the good stuff)
Hang in there! Feel better :slight_smile:

EXACTLY what happened to me, but Vertigo no longer phases me, unless its one of those big ones. Ativan is probably allowing you to sleep through them, but in itself wouldn’t stop them (though they maybe getting milder and more rare in any case)

The key to losing your anxiety about vertigo is to understand what is going on.

Don’t listen to any BS from a Neuro who claims this is ‘all in the mind’ - it’s probably a pressure induced leak from the inner ear causing a feeling of motion as fluid moves through the inner ear as part of the leakage. Proving that your motion sense is all well and fine thank you very much. :slight_smile:

It’s probably, on its own, TOTALLY benign and the breach will heal pretty quickly. In fact I suspect we’ve evolved to GET VERTIGO. It probably prevents damage to the inner ear by releasing pressure.

However, its not a good thing to have chronically, because the chronic leak may have additional impacts (for me it eventually caused tinnitus as the inner ear fluids gradually lost balance). Hopefully these impacts are to some extent reversible but really depend on your ears internal fluid balance to return to normal and for pressure to decrease.

I suspect daytime attacks get rarer and eventually go away because the ear settles to a point where the pressure is no longer high enough to cause a leak when standing up. Unfortunately at night the head pressure increases when you are lying down and that will add to inner ear pressure allowing for late night leaks to occur. I’m counting on these disappearing too when my ear achieves further balance and lower internal pressure.

I concur that being careful with diet would probably help as this may accelerate the return of the inner ear to proper fluid balance and help prevent ‘peaks and troughs’.

Expect any improvement to take months or years though, ear trouble like this resolves VERY slowly. It took me at least 1.5 years for daytime vertigo to say bye.

What I am describing feels more like what clinicians would call brains zaps which usually happen as a consequence of stopping medication. I have been having these without any medication involved. Sometimes, I will just be in mid conversation or on the computer typing really fast and Bam!, I will just feel this rush of adrenaline running through my skull. But as I mentioned, this all happened after I had an upper respiratory infection and although the true spinning subsided after I did the Epley maneuver, I still had loads of residual dizziness and nautical vertigo. And a lot of the other symptoms I have simply do not go along with the positional vertigo diagnosis. Before this all started I was getting a lot of headaches, maybe 2 to 3 every day. Although I was a migraine sufferer in the past this was not like me and I knew something was wrong. I still know something is wrong. I just got over another cold and sure enough I’m driving along and turned my head down to the right to change the radio and there it is again-the spinning sensation. I don’t see how this is BPPV as the crystals really don’t have far to move just by looking down or tilting my head slightly. The ENT I just saw suggested that although some symptoms sound like BPV there are also other symptoms that do not quite fit the diagnosis. He suggests doing the VNG testing which I have scheduled. Also, when he lead me back on his chair; not doing the Dix-Hallpike but rather, just lying me back, he didn’t find any nystagmus.

I am getting really disheartened and confused. Even the previous ENT suggested that the type of vertigo I was getting, although positional, didn’t quite fit the BPV hypothesis. However, there is absolutely no hearing loss and there is no pressure characteristics that would suggest I had of the fistula, either. The ENT also suggested that what I have is not characteristic of Ménière’s disease as although I get aural fulness it is usually in my left ear where as the spinning sensation is only occurring on the right. Also, the phone is in my ear is not episodic. It usually is there in the morning in dissipates throughout the day .

I thought perhaps maybe because I self treated with the Epley maneuver I didn’t remove all of the particles properly and there could be some residual particles floating around. But that wouldn’t quite make sense either because what would cause all of the other symptoms like the pressure sensation and headaches? Yes, it’s easy for a neurologist to say yes you were getting migraines every 2 to 3 days and that’s why you’re dizzy but could it also be likely that I’m getting migraines because there’s something making me dizzy?

This is super helpful!! Thanks! The ENT says he can’t find anything wrong with my ears, but I can FEEL something (pressure, fluid…whatever) moving around in there. ESPECIALLY when I lie down so a leak sounds completely plausible. I have had tinnitus for most of my adult life so I don’t even realize it’s there anymore and I always just assumed it was normal since my dad had the same thing with migraines.

Anyhow, the ENT has not been helpful. I’m scheduled for a computerized posturography test next week and then they may refer me to a neurologist. I mentioned Vestibular Migraine to him and my GP and they both completely blew me off. My GP gave me a script for neck physical therapy and told me to keep taking ativan to sleep at night. So frustrating.

Kristi, my pleasure.

I suspect that the pressures needed for this to happen are fairly low (otherwise you’d be going deaf very quickly, which clearly you are not, right?), so its very hard for it to be picked up, but then again, how many suspected VM patients get VEMP tests that might detect the Hydrops? I don’t think its even necessary to have those tests as most people with Tinnitus, Vertigo and Dizziness probably actually have some level of Hydrops.

I suspect even most cases of tinnitus are probably mild Hydrops and Hydrops is probably incredibly common, but doesn’t cause most people any issues. Tinnitus is often blamed on noise, but noise induced hearing loss occurs around 4kHz and I suspect most people who start to get tinnitus are well beyond their clubbing days!

(By Hydrops I mean the inner ear fluids being out of balance, this is NOT the same as suggesting anyone has Menieres - a distinction large number of practitioners haven’t even grasped! So don’t panic, we shouldn’t see Hydrops as a dirty word, its just an imbalance that may easily self correct)

To be fair this is standard practice, fair enough. If the ativan helps, who’s to argue? I don’t bother with meds now at all but some nights are more of a struggle than others. No anxiety is involved though - this sh1t won’t kill you! :slight_smile: (but its very stressful and unfamiliar at the beginning until you realise that and until it starts to improve)

Do you think mine could be a blood issue?

The BPPV diagnosis will probably go the way of the dinosaurs. Except the dinosaurs were real. Its another made up story to fit the sensations. Its never been visualised and it just doesn’t add up. My bet is that this is an inner ear leak and its positional because position can change pressures in the inner ear. I reckon the ‘Epley’ manoeuvre works because of the violence, its causes an abrupt leak which instantly reduces the pressure in the ear stopping the leak cold. Notice how in the manoeuvre head pressure is kept very high as you are lying down? Just a theory, but for me this unifies everything that I can see going wrong with an inner ear without very much trauma.

If you keep getting vertigo there is nothing wrong with your crystals - they are attached properly and the sense is working correctly - its not your senses fault that fluid is rushing past!

Thanks, I will have to check out the “hydrops” part. I think part of the problem is that I have anxiety in general, so when the “whooshing” thing kicks in I go into full blown panic. Plus once you have anxiety, Doctors tend to just write that up as the cause of your symptoms. Technically, I started having brief spurts of dizziness/instability/vertigo two years ago and the GP told me it was probably just “panic attacks”. When it got non-stop this summer I finally took myself to the specialist for testing.
I know it won’t kill me but there’s a part of my brain that surely thinks it will :wink: ! I just need to convince myself otherwise. Good to know that I may be able to adjust to it eventually. :slight_smile:

The anxiety was terrible for me in the first place. I used to get terrible stomach cramps and nausea. Anxiety is in any case tripped by the vestibular crisis that dizziness gives you. You have no option but to feel anxious. You have to use your ‘higher brain’ to overcome the anxiety and eventually you get more used to the sensations.

Improvements to your symptoms definitely help a lot too, and it seems you are already on your way to improving - not having daytime vertigo is a clear sign things are settling down imho.

So what could have caused my fistula in the first place.? Perhaps it was the constant blowing I did when I was sick? Also, what would have made it come back again. Perhaps the fact that I’ve been blowing my nose again because I’ve been sick? That sounds plausible I’ve re-open the wound

So feel free to not believe a word I write, this is all very contentious and hard to prove without a conservative test. But it’s this lack of a test and definitive diagnosis of such a wound that allows for lots of TERRIBLE explanations for these symptoms to exist. Like Vestibular Migraine for example (a terrible made up story imho, but ok as a category if you don’t take the name too literally, because its definitely DIFFERENT from Menieres, for example (although there are many similarities)).

The answer is: don’t know but that Japanese paper I shared showed that they are a lot more common that recently thought AND can be caused by relatively small amounts of trauma, like pressure from violent sneezing potentially.

What I believe happens is this:

The perilymph and the endolymph live mostly on two sides of a membrane, which if you like can be visualised as a balloon inside an egg, with the egg being your inner ear bone structure, the endolymph living inside the balloon and the perilymph living between the egg shell and the outside of the balloon (a big simplification but good enough for this model)

  1. You get a fistula through some isolated trauma. A bit of bad luck: descent in a plane, a hit to the head, or a big sneeze when you are stuffed up.

  2. You get a brief sensation, or weeks of dizziness. It heals slowly, but opens up at night when you are sleeping and leaks some more. Soon, symptoms may disappear.

  3. The lost perilymph fluid is replaced with the endolymph balloon expanding a bit. You seem to be symptom free for a good while, but you are unaware of the building storm.

  4. Perilymph volume steadily builds back up until it starts to push against endolymph balloon.

  5. A fight for space ensues between perilymph and endolymph, causing pressure to build up in the ear.

  6. That fistula that was nearly healed suffers ‘explosive’ (not originally implosive) force and opens up again. By explosive I do not mean like a bomb going off, merely the direction of the force. This happens to varying degrees, at varying levels of flow for varying periods, explaining a quick rush of vertigo, to a migraine rumble caused by a slow leak annoying the brain’s vestibular system, or you just feeling off.

  7. This happens over and over and episodically as each time it opens, pressure drops, but endolymph still dominating space in inner ear.

  8. Eventually fistula strengthens and fluid balance equalises a bit, dropping the maximum pressure and decreasing episodes of vertigo and leakage, further promoting balance

  9. Symptoms disappear

This is why for most people this eventually goes away and you feel better.

A big longterm marker is probably tinnitus - the more tinnitus you have the worse the imbalance probably is. As the imbalance improves, the tinnitus probably drops and you may find hearing improves too.

I believe my model explains all of the randomness and mixed unpredictable symptoms and relapses. It explains for some the big gap between the original trauma and the chronic return phase during which they felt no symptoms.

Were the fistula never to heal you’d never get out of this cycle, but I suspect for most people progress happens.

1 Like

Would you say I pretty much don’t have menieres? Or can meniere’s attacks also last seconds?

Menieres is very rare and occurs for no known reason. Also you get big decreases in hearing and roaring tinnitus during a Menieres vertigo attack - do you have that? If not, probably not Menieres. I rarely get any disturbance to hearing during a vertigo attack - increased tinnitus has happened to a small degree once or twice, but nothing like the way vertigo attacks are described by Menieres sufferers.

There are probably a lot of common symptoms and activity in all kinds of ear trouble though, because a lot of the same mechanisms and features are involved. I suspect the severity of these things varies significantly though, with Menieres being one of the most severe categories.

Let’s just put it this way. I’ve gone for four hearing tests all at different clinics and even went for one today, about 40 minutes after the vertigo attack and hearing were normal. I also told the ENT that the fullness is in my left ear and it dissipates by the afternoon, and there is no vertigo attacks when it is full.

The vertigo was in my right ear. Now, I just did the Epley, and there was absolutely no spinning. I am just so confused! So, why was I spinning before when doing the Epley and had the spinning episodes. And now, I have the spinning but do not spin on the Epley. So, this must mean it’s not BPPV. I have tinnitus, but it is very very mild, almost not there and only happens at night.

Doesn’t sound like menieres then.

Can a fistula cause daily headaches/migraines? Also, when I do anything strenous like talk a lot of work on the computer, it get’s worse. It almost feels synscopish.

Not sure about headaches, but definitely migraines. Computer use would increase chance of migraine as brain gets upset with artificial stimulation when its trying to cope with a vestibular upset simultaneously. Can’t see computer use giving you vertigo though.

Stress is VERY BAD for this condition, try and lose or ignore stress causes. Definitely walk away from stress and learn not to let things get at you. You have to learn to completely chill and not get worked up. Stress affects pressures in the ear and will exacerbate neurological symptoms too, so bad news all round. Try to do something every day that helps you to relax … go for long walks?

I just feel like I will have stroke soon!