Tips for pressure in head?

Does anyone have any tips/tricks for managing the pressure in the head?

I use Vicks several times a day on my forehead and either Tiger Balm, Bengay, or BioFreeze on my upper neck for a distraction, but would love to know if there are any temporary remedies for the pressure. Seems like as the pressure increases, so does the dizziness/drunk feeling, visual disturbances, weakness etc.

Thank you in advance!!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Does anyone have any tips/tricks for managing the pressure in the head?
Yep, timeout.
I have found that I ‘can’ push on through BUT in doing so I seem to pay for it later. For me it’s better to recognise the symptoms of pressure and go and laydown, giving myself timeout. Then I can continue.
If I ignore it today and push on through, tomorrow I can find myself bedbound in agony. I have learnt my body gives me signs that progressively get worse, head pressure is one of the first.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

I’m wondering if an anti-inflammatory would help. Although there are no pain sensors in the brain, the brain itself can swell and since it’s in a confined area with nowhere to go when it swells, it can create pressure on nerves and whatnot in other places. Which in turn can create swelling in those areas. Maybe anti-inflammatories would help break the chain reaction?


Also, because I’m assuming this is being caused by chiari I would say try ice on the back of the neck. Odds are the pressure is starting there and raditating around.


You seem to be post-surgery. Knowing what I know now I would do graded motor imagery - the long version of therapy protocol - and see where that leaves you.

Unfortunately, I never found that a different pillow changed anything. - Same with an inflammatory. i took one every night for over a year with no change and then stopped with no change. Ever hopeful I was! I would not suggest that route. If you do try an inflammatory, there should be an immediate, significant improvement, not a “well, maybe there is a change” longterm anti-inflammatories are hard on the gut.

There are also the primitive reflexes for dizziness that I tout so often. You are post-surgery and a good candidate for a long-term solution. Answers and solutions are out there for you. You just need to adapt your definition of health care and be willing to put some effort in. Changing a Chiari-broke brain is not quick, but does happen over time with the right brain exercises.

Thanks all! :slight_smile:
@ gabby_jazzypants-Yes, I am post OP almost 1 year, however I will need another surgery as there is still blockage even though the tonsils retracted. Perhaps the cause of the pressure. I will start massage and acupuncture in January. I have seen your posts about primitive reflexes which I really want to start more regularly. Question for you since you’re here-I believe it was you that has also talked about vision therapy? I am interested in that as well as it seems that my vision gets too much stimuli for my brain to process so it just causes sensory overload. Is this something, in your experience, that would benefit from vision therapy? Thank you in advance.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I am not 100% sure of what your vision concerns are. I do know that my vision is back to being very good thanks to a long regiment of eye exercises. Even just starting with pencil push-ups and tracking (I am sure it’s on youtube) is a good thing as that is where most vision therapists would start you. Save a bit of money with treatment. Also, it is not necessary to visit a therapist more than once a month. They say otherwise, of course, but it takes that long for the brain to make changes before moving onto new exercises. Make sure that they understand that those are your plans. Good luck with that and with the primitive reflexes.

Just an aside, as it bothers me to see people waste their time and money, is that unfortunately massage and acupuncture to not have any researched lasting benefit. There is the positive effect of personal touch and someone listening to you but that does not last long… just something to think about as you plan your rehab. Maybe you have lots of time and money!

I feel your pain!! I am 11 weeks post op and I still have the pressure in my head. Anytime I laugh or cough, I get dizzy and have so much pressure in my head. I almost feel like I’m going to pass out. I didn’t know if this was normal wuth surgery only being 11 weeks ago!

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11 weeks post op? That’s REAL early days, your body still hasn’t had time to adjust. I’m now 5yrs post op and at times I’m still having those same symptoms, admittedly not to the same extent as initially, but even today a cough is bad and a sneeze damn near brings me to my knees. For me now it’s a case of pain management and keeping an eye on symptom progression, if the symptoms get worse and the meds don’t work a general rule for me is; seek help.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

So the pressure from coughing, sneezing, laughing never goes away?! Yikes

Ohh NO, that definitely was not what I was inferring. I have required a number of neurosurgical procedures, my first in 1996, my last in 2013, each has had it’s own recovery time. I recovered ‘reasonably’ well from the first few and was able to return to work after each. But the last couple of procedures have not had such good outcomes. The only issue I had (other than a headache) with the initial surgery was with laughing. The pressure caused a sound like blowing bubbles through a straw. I was informed that it was CSF being forced out through the craniotomy plate. Once the bone flap healed this ceased.
Since my last surgeries a large cough or a sneeze and I’m in agony, but this has only been since 2013. I was hoping that like the previous ops, things would settle but unfortunately this has not been the case. Every brain is different, every surgery is different, so to be saying A+B=C is impossible. Trying to compare my own surgeries with each other is impossible, every one of them has had differing symptoms and outcomes. I was merely giving you the scenario of my own situation.

But I still stand by the statement “…11 weeks post op? That’s REAL early days, your body still hasn’t had time to adjust…” and as bad as this may sound, give it time.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

Hello everyone. This support group is so valuable for information especially because Chiari presents with numerous symptoms.
Stimulating our systems with exhaustive activity, nutrients, caffeine, medication either prescription or over-the -counter, deep massage directly at the base of the brain and upper cervical area can and will cause agitation to the Chiari especially recently post-op. The nerves in that area are predisposed to misfiring causing pain and odd sometimes scary sensations.
Applying a cold/cool pack to the Chiari area as Gabby mentioned helps tremendously and costs very little.
I have also done Chiropractic care for 20 years (maintains proper alignment so nerves are not compromised) which helped me survive life pre-op and post-op Chiari Decompression. Visits for Chiropractic care will need to be more frequent at first and are often covered by insurance we just forget to check into this area of the medical field.
As the other members of this Website have said it takes time, “Do Not Rush.”
Our symptoms are so numerous they overwhelm people, but here at this site they will be understood and you will feel less alone in living life with Chiari.