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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Headaches, Strange Sensations, Dizziness, Hypnic Jerks

 nooglo - Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:05 pm

For a little over 2 weeks I have been experiencing some very strange and discomforting symptoms. It started with a headache above my left eye one morning, it felt like the pain was coming directly from the bone above my eye socket. The headache slowly went away until the next morning. Since then it has come and gone and I must say the pain is very mild, not like a normal headache at all, in fact it's not even been bad enough for me to need to take any painkillers. About a week later I noticed stiffness in my neck, and pain in the back of my head. I still have the stiff neck, but I only get the pain when I bend my neck backwards (not forwards). The pain is not shooting or stabbing, just a dull ache when I tilt backwards. The frontal headache still comes and goes (maybe for a few seconds every hour or so), but it a lot less bothersome now. I have also had strange pains and mild shooting pains in other random areas on my head and even cheek bones and facial areas.

About 4 nights ago I noticed I was having trouble falling asleep due to "jumping" every time I tried to sleep. I did some research and believe this is called Hypnic Jerks. I, like everyone have experienced this before, but in the past 4 nights I have noticed it's happening maybe 20 - 30 times before finally my brain gives up fighting and lets me rest. This is making me extremely tired though. I feel exhausted, but having trouble sleeping so I'm in a vicious circle with that.

Today I have noticed a numbing sensation, mainly in my right leg, but also in my shoulders at times. I realise quite a few of these symptoms are related to brain tumors, so obviously I'm worried - which isn't helping. At times I also feel slightly dizzy and like I'm falling (kind of like the Hypnic Jerk problem, but when I'm not trying to fall asleep).

I will be seeing my doctor again tomorrow, this will be the 3rd time during the length of time I have been having these symptoms. I have already had an eye test, tests for pressure behind my eyes, blood pressure tests, all have proven to be fine.

I think I'm stumped because the pain is very very mild, but it's there constantly, I haven't felt the need to vomit (apart from when I start panicking about it and worrying myself always makes me feel like vomiting). The pain has never been sharp or stabbing, or bad enough to wake me up. I've not had any real visual or hearing disturbances and I feel fine in myself. Though I know something is not right. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on my job, I don't know if this is to do with the problem or if it's simply because I'm worrying about it.

This is nothing like anything I have had before and it is EVERY day, it doesn't appear to be getting progressively worse, but certainly no better.

Any advice or any light that could be shed on it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:26 pm

User avatar Hello --

Hopefully you've seen your doctor, been worked up appropriately and by now have at least ruled out (or in) certain possibilities.

What you describe is hypic jerks, and the increased frequency of them is known as periodic limb movement, the cause of which is generally obscure, but which can sometimes be due to seizure-like activity (as are hypnic jerks believed to be as well); this is all also related to the body's reflex triggered by the belief it is falling or in a falling posture. Some believe it is even more primal than the falling reflex. At any rate, this is what's been happening to you, and if it were the lone symptom it probably wouldn't warrant too much concern, although it is sometimes necessary to treat periodic limb movement. However, the unique head pain and especially the localized sensation of numbness in combination with new onset of periodic limb movement do justify a complete neurological workup. While this sort of syndrome can be associated with brain tumor, it is far more often either associated with a vascular abnormality or, most often, of no clear etiology, and then classified as partial seizures.

Please do follow up with us here and update us, since you had a doctor visit scheduled and have had time to have been seen by a specialist since then as well. Hopefully the mystery is cleared up by now, but if not, we'll be happy to work with you and try to get you pointed in the right direction.

Best of luck to you.

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