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Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Does Pressure in Your Head Feel like?

One of the most common symptoms for a patient with an arachnoid cyst, is pressure in the head. At first you may not be sure anything is wrong. You may feel a little strange in the head, and it may fade in and out - or come and go. But as your cyst grows, it can start to put pressure on the brain and on in the inside of the skull.

If your cyst is growing, you may start to notice odd symptoms that you are not quite sure if the symptoms are real, or imaginary. They may be subtle at first and increasingly grow over time. Because the symptoms can emerge slowly and subtly, you may even wonder if they are real, or all in your head.

Some of the most common signs of presure on the brain are:

(1) Dizziness - Pressure on the brain can make you feel dizzy - whether it is a spinning dizzy, or off-balance dizzy. It may be subtle at first, but the dizziness can grow and get increasingly more bothersome. You may even experience nausea with the dizziness.

(2) Pressure - The pressure that arises in your head due to a cyst can feel similar to the pressure you may feel when a plane ascends into the sky. It feels like there is not enough room in your skull for everything in there - as if your brain is growing and pressing on the inside of your skull. It can also feel like a lot of fluid in your head, as if you were filling a waterballoon and the fluid gets to be too much in the balloon, so that the insides of the balloon are bulging and ready to burst.

(3) Tight - Too much pressure can make the inside of your head feel full; crowded. It can feel like your brain is being squished. You have an unrecognizable fullness in your head and you want to constantly shake your head to relieve the fullness and help to regain cognitive thinking. You can't think straight. You lose your ability to focus and concentrate.

(4) Vision Disturbances - Your vision may become distorted. Gradually it may seem as if you are looking at the world through distorted glasses. The world may seem more cartoon-like, like images are not real. You may have blurry vision or tunnel vision.

If you are having any of these symptoms, you need to be checked. If you already know that you have a cyst and develop these symptoms, keep record of them and rate them on a daily basis with 1 being not so bad and 10 at it's worst.

Only do what you can do, physically. Do not push yourself too hard or put yourself in dangerous situations, like driving long distances if you know that you are having problems with dizziness, or cognitive skills.

Talk to your doctor about all your symptoms, the severity of them, and if new ones develop.


  1. I ma having all of these symptoms. Could it be family related? Because I believe my grandmother has the same thing with her. Plus, I've had a history of Sizures as well. I have been diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, as well as Asperger's Syndrom. Now I'm starting to wonder if this Cyst could be the cause of all my symptoms?

    1. Hi,

      I do not know if the other problems could be the only reason for your symptoms. If you have a brain cyst, especially depending on the size, it could be playing a significant role in your problems. If it were me, I would be sure to be followed and monitored closely by someone who can get regular scans to monitor for growth in the cyst and other changes. Depending on where the cyst is growing, I do know others who have had trouble with seizures. Be sure to get a good neurosurgeon who is familiar with brain cysts and have him monitor you regularly. Keep a record of your symptoms (diary). This can help with monitoring changes and patterns. Keep me informed and do check out, "It's all in Your Head," my book and my story, that you may see other similarities with as well. You can find it on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

      Keep me posted and good luck to you. I understand the frustrations of living with a brain cyst!

  2. Hi,

    How are you doing these days? Where does it stand with your cyst? I'm not sure I ever responded to the question about it being familial. Yes, it has been discovered that brain cysts "can" be hereditary.

    About the other diagnosis' you have been given....I am not sure to the extent that it is related to your other diagnosis', but brin cysts can affect things such as your affect, and thinking processes, even your persoality, so I do not know why it "couldn't be" that you could be diagnosed with a medical condition that you don't necessarily "truly" have when it is all "really" cyst related.

    Have things changed for you since? My cyst and brain conditions effects my "affect" and personality - no doubt. I see a big difference in my personality from before my cyst gave me trouble to after it started.

    Drop a note when you can. I hope all is well.


  3. Hello,

    I appreciate your book and website. I recently discovered them. I am 43 years old and recently underwent a hysterectomy. After the suregery my vision became blurred and I began to feel a great deal of pressure in my head. After visiting a neurosurgeon who has a great reputation in our area, he scheduled me for an MRI which did show an arachnoid cyst in the frontal left lobe of my brain. I had known about the cyst from the time I was 26 years old and have lived with no symptoms. The doctor said that I could have been born with it. He said that it is half the size of a pencil and should not be giving me and difficulty with vision etc. He stated that he does not want to have to operate on this because he would have to remove a portion of my skull and it would be very involved and not necessary. Yet, I am having pressure and vision issues. I am very scared, but my faith in God is extremely strong. He wants to wait a year and check the size to make sure that it is not growing. I'm curious to hear what you think of this?

    Sherry W.

  4. Hi
    My name is Lloyd and I was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst apprx 2 years ago. I had test (CT and MRI) after feeling a tingling in my head similar to that of my foot falling asleep. I was told the cyst should be asymptomatic and I should never concern myself with it again. I now have an occasional slight pressure in the back of my head that is starting to occur more frequently. I can easily withstand the pressure as I would just describe it as annoying at the worst. What concerns me is that I feel it most when I get done with vigorous physical activity. I have backed off on activities that I enjoy as a result of being worried that they may putting my health at risk. I do have a doctor's appointment coming up in a few weeks. My question is do you think vigorous physical activity that may even result in hitting my head is putting me at unnecessary risk? Thank you in advance.