Tightness In My Head

Hello Everyone,

The last couple of days i’ve had a difficult time with this Tightness/Squeezed like feeling inside my head but without pain. It’s almost as if something is Squeezing my brain. Along with that there is a bobbing motion. It’s not unusual for me to have the tightness in my head but i have not had it this bad in quite some time. On Wednesday i went to work and while talking to a couple of co-worker’s i had a very tense panic attack but they did not seem to notice. I barely made it thru the day. The Stimula in the room was very noisey and i nearly had to excuse myself. I took Thursday and today (Friday) off. I just need to relax my head and body. These intense symptoms came out of nowhere.

Is there anyone out there who has ever had any of these symptoms?



Hey Joseph, sorry you’re having such a crap time of it.

What you’re describing sounds extremely familiar to me (and I suspect to many others on this board) - I have some degree of this pretty much continuously at the moment, and I do find at times that trying to concentrate hard makes the tightness worse - you keep concentrating as long as you can bear but then the vice gets too tight and you have to stop and relax/move/do something else.

Whilst it sounds totally consistent with this dizzy nonsense, remember that stress/anxiety/panic will make it worse so it’s important that you try and find a way to avoid panic attack type responses in this type of situation, maybe excusing yourself wouldn’t have been a bad thing?

Take it easy and relax for the weekend and hope things settle down for you,

Joseph, I don’t know whether this is the same thing you’re describing, but . . . trying to hold on to focus. I can tense my head big-time, give myself a nice temporal headache in the process, and half the time clamp my jaw tight enough without realizing it (other priorities, y’know) that my molars get achingly cold-sensitive.

Getting away, lying down in the dark, that sort of thing helps. Dark glasses help (haven’t tried adding a white cane). If I’m driving, or otherwise outdoors, glancing at foliage can help a LOT. Visual retraining exercises help me, up to a point. Ear plugs often can help.

None of this was enough, though, until I got the MAV DX and changed my diet radically.

Hey Dizziblonde & David,

These symptoms (tightness/motion in the head) i’ve had for many years but not much pain. I have what is the Silent Migraine…i just don’t get much pain, only tension. My concern is that for the last 4-5 days i have not been able to subside it much. I have some vestibular exercises that sometimes helps (yes, i believe it’s migraine and inner-ear problems together) so i’m going to focus on trying that and get some extra sleep.

I feel like my symptoms are rare cause not very many people answered my post

Thanks for your help.


Joe, it hasnt been rare for me. I used to get it a lot more than I do now though. My head symptoms have always been the same.
The migraine was always the back of the head (like being hit with an iron bar), those migraines would last for 3 days or more and I was left with some neuralgia in the back of the head on the right side which appears again now when I get one of those migraines.

The tension, squeezing band I had a lot. It also used to sometimes be in one temple or both, accompanied by tingling and pins and needles. Sometimes I just get a bit of that going on now. I used syndol painkillers for that and I still use them, but only in one half of a tablet. I was forever running my fingers round in circles on my temples to try and ease the pressure.

Sometimes I also feel like my head is full of cotton wool or wants to explode with the pressure in it, with that, I get the heavy eyelids and wanting to sleep.


Hi Joseph

It sounds like you’re fairly happy with your diagnosis, in which case you should just think of this especially bad period as an especially bad migraine. This disease manifests itself in all kinds of weird and wonderful symptoms that will vary from person to person, some having pain as the predominant feature, some vertigo, some fatigue, some feeling generally “odd”, and some, like you with tightness or pressure. These symptoms however are all a result of the same process, ie migraine, and consequently the management and prevention strategies seem fairly universal regardless of the exact manifestations.

I’m not sure how often you normally experience these episodes and whether you’re on any preventative migraine meds, but you need to make the necessary lifestyle changes if you haven’t already re sleep and diet (regular eating, no caffeine, 3l of water per day, regualar bedtime/get up time, no painkillers), if you feel an episode of this pressure commencing (ie a migraine coming on) then you should immediately take 20mg domperidone with food and lots of fluids - this may allay it if your symptoms are mostly episodic.

If you already do all of this then you need to work through the preventative meds until you find the one for you. This is especially important if you really do also have vestibular damage otherwise you are expecting a “faulty” brain to be able to compensate for the misinformation recieved from your vestibular system.

If you haven’t already, have a look through the links to the audio file and info sheet scott has posted from Dr Silver. He does talk about headache a lot but goes on to describe quite well the “odd” non headache symptoms that a lot of us experience and talks through the ABC’s of how to try and tackle this.

Best of luck, Hx

Sadly this tightness feeling is also something I get. Feels like my skull is shrinking at the same time that my brain is expanding. Makes me want to jump out of my skin. I find walking helps - sitting still just makes it feel worse/more obvious. The deep, regular breathing of a walk also helps I think.


Thank You Everyone for all your support.

After 4 really bad days (took 2 days off work)…i’m beginning to feel my normal MAV Self. The intensity of the motion and tension in my head came out of the blue…could of been from too much stress. I’ve had help from the past when i work my brandt-dorff exercises (vestibular exercise) at home. I don’t know why it helps but it does. It’s no cure but atleast i begin to feel better after a couple of days.

I truly have the Silent Migraine (no doubt in my mind) most affected on the right side of my head and near the temple…but my inner-ear is truly affected also by this mav condition. The inside of my head always feels a little squeezed …with motion. Anti-anxiety med’s have worked best for me. The medication helps to soften the tension and motion that i experience on a daily basis. Anti-depressants have been a disappointment. I’ve been dealing with this condition for 18 years now and i’ve made about 70% improvement. On really good days i would say 75% would be more accurate. But with out medication it’s hard for me to even talk…and i blank out alot too. So i’m thankful for medication.

Thanks again everyone for all your input.


Christine, i forgot to tell you that my head also feels like it’s stuffed wit cotton but the Squeezzed like feeling goes hand in hand with the cotton…if that makes any sense?? I don’t experience any needles and pins but were all different so i don’t expect for us to feel exactly the same with our symptoms. You said that the back of your head is most noticeable with pressure and tension and mine is in the temples and my right side of my head. I really have to watch it that i don’t become overly stressed cause that is a BIG Trigger! I take a small amount of Benzo and Verapmail to Melt some of the squeezed feeling. I just wishe that it would take care of it by 100% but it doesn’t.


Hi Joe,

Symptoms very much like yours hope u having a better day.

That’s right Ruby…for a number of years you and i have very similar symptoms. But we have made some improvement over the years, right?

I’m doing better…thanks for asking. The motion and tense/squeezed like feeling in my head has melted a little, thank god!


I have this currently. My vestibular migraine tightens the back of my head. I even feel a shot of dizziness rush up the back of my head when typing. The tension feels like someone is squeezing my head and I can feel pulsating in my ears and nose (but it doesn’t hurt and its not my heartbeat, either). I also get ear cracking, hyperacusis, random popping sensations, sinking, floating, etc.

It’s just the worst! I am so scared it’s my neck but the neck wouldn’t cause all of these symptoms.

This is easy to explain. Your brain is not trusting information from your vestibular system and is trying to stabilise the position of your head to help leading to a stiff neck. I’ve heard arguments this is because its trying to rely more on vision to help with balance, so its attempting to stabilise your gaze, but clearly this might help with stabilising the labyrinths too.

I personally found this was relieved very quickly (within days) with low dose Amitriptyline.

Thanks James I am supposed to start the Ami soon. Did you have any side effects?

A few but worth the overall quality of life benefits. The only lasting one for me was mild constipation. Dry mouth tends to disappear after a few months. Drink lots. Initially you might get the odd freaky nightmare. Take it at 9pm to avoid lethargy in morning.

When this all started for you, did you have any vestibular weakness upon testing? For me, they cannot find any weakness and hearing is normal. All balance testing is normal.

No vestibular weakness to begin with. I actually recompensated every few weeks at the start. The most obvious measurable problem was my HF hearing of my affected ear. Later they tested my caloric response but I was on Ami at the time so pointless.

It seems for some there is an episodic disturbance only and frustratingly you are never in the clinic when it hits. Have you had a VEMP?

I have gone back repeatedly and there is never any hearing loss and all tests are normal. I did have the VEMP which was completely normal. I also completed the ECOG on a separate occasion, also normal. I’ve had 5 hearing tests and pressure tests, all normal.

I know it’s my ears though. My husband can actually hear them pop from across the room and crackle. They will pop on their own around the times i feel dizzy. Is it possible there is fluid trapped in there that they can’t see?

Your best bet may be to take very good care of them for a bit (no loud noises, no deep underwater swimming etc) and see if it settles down. My ear occasionally doesn’t leak internally at night now. After 2.5 years!! In meantime try Ami to reduce symptoms and if it does your anxiety will settle down. Let us know how you get on.

Are you still convinced it’s a fistula? It happens in both ears but its more predominant in left ear.