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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Popping sensation inside my head

 freuds5 - Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:50 am


I am a 40 year old married man with three children. During the past year, I have been awakened from my nighttime sleep by a very sudden, popping sensation inside my brain/head. It is not a painful feeling, nor does it present as a sound, but rather an instantaneous sensation of something cracking/fracturing inside my head. It is a very sudden event, done and over in a split second. It has happened approximately once every 2-4 months. I have never experienced the sensation while awake. It occurred again last night. Do you know what this might be associated with/symptomatic of? Is it something that should be checked out by some specific type of medical assessment? I am worried that something could be failing inside my head/brain.

Thank you for your anticipated reply.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:11 pm

User avatar Hello -

What you describe sounds very much like the unsettlingly-named "exploding head syndrome." Apparently you don't get as profound a sense of sound or impact as most people do (I've heard it described as "like a shotgun going off in my head" or "like being hit on the head with a shovel, but without any actual pain" as well as ranging from a click to a loud pop). This is a benign phenomenon which is suspected of being a part of the "shutting down" process the brain goes through during the early stages of sleep. It is a seizure-like event, much like the jerking or involuntary kicking some people experience when drifting off to sleep and which sometimes startle them back into wakefulness. As odd as these events are, they are considered benign and even normal.

I am unaware of any specific ways to prevent this from happening, but for most people, just knowing it's nothing to worry about usually seems to do the trick.

I certainly hope this is helpful. Good luck to you.

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