General Question

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

I have been feeling unbalanced and a feeling of my head being full. Any suggestions?

Asked by JoeyOhSoClever (969points) December 22nd, 2013 from iPhone

Ok, so I am a 20 year old male, and fairly healthy only suffering occasionally from asthma and seasonal allergies. During my younger days I would have bad allergy spells and occasional allergy infections and never had these symptoms of imbalance, neck and spine pain, tension headaches (not severe), full ears, occasional tingling in fingers, nausea, and just rather feeling out of it. My concentration is still good and my memory. I can still focus and understand everything. I have visited two doctors at minor emergencies and one diagnosed me with an allergy infection and the other saying I had no infection at all just bad allergies and congestion. But like I’ve stated I’ve had allergies and congestion all my life and never had these symptoms. I’m worrying myself sick thinking there is something going undiagnosed along with the allergies. Sorry for the long details, any suggestions?

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19 Answers

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

I also have to admit of experiencing an increase of anxiety as well. I have been being a hypochondriac recently, checking my phone for answers or people with similar symptoms and it’s gotten me more sick. I am constantly on my phone looking for answers because I haven’t had much time to go to the doctor and there are a ton of people talking negative like “I have been experiencing these symptoms for 10 years,” or say “doctors have not founds diagnosis yet for a long time.” These comments freak me out because I don’t want to feel like this for a long time. I’m a good college student and can’t afford to back to school this way.

Smitha's avatar

Having said that, you are probably at risk for hypochondria, I would like to say please don’t rely on internet for diagnosing your conditions. Nowadays it’s so easy to search for symptoms on the Web, that a simple headache becomes a brain tumor in just a few clicks. I know curiosity will try to force you into checking online for all the symptoms that is going on with your body. Still just avoid searching online.Try to remind yourself that whatever is going through your mind is pointless and you can get through it.
We all get pains and feelings of ‘not so good’ at times and most of the time it means nothing. I too used to feel such thoughts that my vertigo was something serious.
You should really talk with a professional to get a proper diagnosis. They can help you through therapy. Many therapist use CBT techniques to help patients beat anxiety. Meditation also helps. Don’t stress yourselves. Just relax, go out, spend time with your friends and enjoy life!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ok I’ll say it… go to a doctor and don’t get answers from people on the internet.
There. I made the disclaimer. Now I will tell you my experience.
When I was about your age, 21, I started getting an occasional ringing in my ears, occasional mild headaches, peripheral vision loss. None of these symptoms were very strong. They were just feelings. I went to the doc and he thought it was tension headaches. TMJ, Likely I was grinding my teeth. (I wasn’t.) I got a pain killer that only worked for a little while.

I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning and mentioned this. He did a set of bite-wing x-rays and they showed my wisdom teeth were growing in and were coming in a little sideways. They were the problem. I had them removed by an oral surgeon and was better in 2 days. Like magic.
I am not trying to add one more worry to the pot. I’m just saying it worked for me. Mention it to your dentist.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Welcome to my world, my friend.

I just went through something similar. Dizzy spells, occasional headaches, nausea (from the dizziness), trouble taking a deep breath, and a general “blah” feeling. I also had symptoms south of my head. Breast pain, a feeling of fullness under my ribcage, clavicle pain.

I think a lot of it is anxiety-related. I, too, am a hypochondriac. Get this ridiculousness – I had myself convinced, with the help of many Google searches, that I had breast cancer that had metastasized to surrounding muscle, liver, lungs, and brain. Oh yeah, and I’m only 24. What’s even crazier is that this happens to me a couple of times per year, when my life gets a little stressful. This time it was finals, graduating, and looking for a job. I know I’m being ridiculous, but I just can’t stop.

I saw my OBGYN for my annual exam and he found no breast lumps. The pain went away almost immediately. The dizzy spells also died down. I went to my GP and he found nothing wrong with me. Now, after nearly two months of constant worry, I’m only left with one symptom, the fullness under my right ribcage, which my GP was unconcerned about and I’ve contributed to either anxiety or IBS (which I’ve already been diagnosed with).

I’m going to give you advice that I haven’t yet managed to take: STOP trying to diagnose yourself online. Do something that makes you relax – exercise, yoga, etc. If you’ve seen two doctors about this, chances are your allergies (and anxiety) are to blame. If you can afford it, see a therapist or see if your doctor will prescribe an anti-anxiety medication.

Good luck.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

That’s what I honestly and logically think it is, is a combination of allergies, congested ears, lack of sleep (from anxiety), and overall anxiety. And another thing I don’t think I have vertigo because it’s not a spinning or dizzy sensation it’s just an unbalanced type of feeling. There is only one other thing I could see it being other than that and I came up with it by myself not using the net. It’s the whole neck and spine thing. I noticed the top of my spine or the part that protrudes right below the neck feels a bit inflamed and really only hurts to the touch. I notice if I bring my head back to my back and keep it there as if I’m looking up I experience the symptoms again especially a bad tension headache. I also have middle spine and lower back pain along with feeling my tailbone is inflamed too. Anyways supposedly I read that a bad neck can also cause the ears to feel full like congestion. I’m honestly thinking I need to start getting my regular life back and exercising and stuff because I’m not feeling much handicap from what I’m experiencing other than anxiety.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

This all just makes me mad too because I’m a psych major in college and I’ve always been mentally tough. Bad anxiety runs through my family but I’ve always been able to control my own with ease. This whole ear congestion imbalance thing has really challenged me mentally and I don’t know why. I mean I have felt this for a little over a week already. Thank you for y’all’s help though. I knew coming here would increase my anxiety a bit getting more opinions but I knew I would be getting good positive advice from strong minded people on here so it helps.

hearkat's avatar

It does sound like allergy/sinus symptoms exacerbated by anxiety and poor sleep. Also note that just because you’ve have allergies and asthma most of your life, your body will change as you get older. Some people with allergies in childhood ‘outgrow’ them (my brother, who now at 50 says he suspects some are coming back), and some who didn’t have allergies develop them (myself, in my mid-20s).

Since you’ve already seen 2 physicians who came to essentially the same conclusion, I’d suggest starting from there and following through with their recommendations before going to another Dr. The best way to know for sure if they were right is to use your allergy medication regularly, and hopefully they have also prescribed a nasal spray (since they tend to be more effective with eustachian tube dysfunction), which should also be used regularly as directed. Antihistamines are usually recommended to take on an ‘empty’ stomach (2+ hours after eating, or 1+ hours before eating). If they make you drowsy, take them at the same time each evening; or if they make you hyper, take them at the same time each morning – that is if you get the “24 hour” formula. It will take a week or two of consistent use of the allergy med and nasal spray before you feel consistent relief. Many people want to only take the medication when it gets bad, but when they symptoms are persistent, consistent treatment is key.

Optionally, if you do have nasal or sinus congestion, guaifenesin (mucinex) or pseudoephedrine (sudafed – purchased behind the counter) might also be considered – again, be aware of whether they have stimulant or depressant effects on you, and schedule your dosage to as not to disrupt your sleep cycle. This is why I prefer the non-bundled medications (allergy pills or other cold/sinus medications with a ”-D” suffix have sudafed in them, but you might not always need the decongestant).

We are now going into your holiday break, so even though you may want to go out and party, I strongly suggest that you try to establish a regular sleep routine and cycle. In your early 20s, most people still need 8–9 hours of sleep. Recent studies have found that even just staying up late on weekends has a ‘jet-lag’ type of effect on the brain. The ideal is to have a set bed time and wake time that you keep every single day. At least a half-hour before bed time, all electronics should be turned off, as the light shining in the eyes messes with the sleep centers of the brain. Develop a routine of evening grooming, then maybe do some journaling to purge the thoughts and emotions of the day, and/or some meditation to quiet the mind. Set the alarm on your phone to help you stick to a set bed time and wake time every day; you might want to try some of the sound apps to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Use the holiday break to give yourself at least 9 hours of sleep each night; then when you go back to school if you want to try shorten it to 8 hours to see if that’s adequate, it might be once you have the routine.

If you still have symptoms, or if they worsen, despite being very disciplined about your allergy treatment and sleep routine, then I would suggest consulting an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT, or Otolaryngologist) for further evaluation, as there are some other conditions that could cause similar symptoms, but require additional testing. I hope you feel better soon!

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@hearkat thank you. Happy holidays.

serenityNOW's avatar

I just went through a harrowing 72 hours where I knew I had HIV. I got tested on a Friday and had to wait till Monday for results because my GP didn’t have the spot-test or whatever you call it. So, basically every ill I had was obviously a symptom of HIV. Mind you, I only had one slight risk, but I won’t get into that. So, in essence I had HIV for a weekend. Things we’re going so well, I knew the other shoe was about to drop. All and all, though, if you think you have something the internet will definitely back you up. So, if you’re still dissatisfied with your diagnosis, get another opinion.

Now, what you said: “I’ve always been mentally tough”. Most anxiety disorders are not always “conquered” by mental toughness or willpower. As a psych student, you should know that many emotional disorders are just chemical imbalances. As an example, I know lots of diabetics that are mentally tough, but they can’t make their diabetes go away because they have have a strong will. Maybe you just need some assistance on that angle. Anyway, good luck and keep us posted.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

How severe does the imbalance need to be before you guys think it’s alarming enough to check out again? Obviously we all think its ear congestion and an unbalance and dizzy feeling is a big side effect. So far I’m not having trouble walking like bumping in walls or tripping on stuff but I do notice it when I go from laying down to sitting up or standing but only when I move quick but it goes away before I start walking. I feel kind of weird on a rocking chair and just moving my head quickly but it’s not severe.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@serenityNOW well I’m still a barely starting undergrad in college so I haven’t really gotten into much detail over metal health issues other than just knowing what they are. Its just weird how how after all I’ve been through in my life like having the flu and food poisoning at one time or minor asthma attacks but it’s weird how a little imbalance and congestion could have my anxiety on another level.

hearkat's avatar

Signs that you need to see an ENT:
if you get an acute attack of spinning that lasts longer than a minute;
if you feel your hearing decreases significantly and doesn’t come back within a minute;
if you run a fever.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

Ok I tried to update with a new question but was told I should come back here to update you guys. I’m feeling a bit better and it’s a day by day thing. Possibly a couple hour thing. Comes and goes. I have recently stopped searching so much into these problems but I did find someone to talk to about this with similar symptoms. We tried to decipher when or what caused this for us and it turns out it started after marijuana use and a brief period of stress in our lives. Previously before all of my symptoms started I had a bad experience with weed where I had like a day and a half hangover from it. The hangover feels like what I am feeling now I just felt more cloudy then. I had a lot of anxiety while on the hallucination, the same I feel now. I’m just wondering if you guys think it was laced with something or has possibly caused me to have a hangover or brain imbalance from it that will go away?

hearkat's avatar

Everyone’s body chemistry is unique (with the exception of identical twins); so none of us can know whether the weed you’ve tried has been laced with something, or whether you just don’t handle THC well. Either way, stay away from marijuana if you don’t like how it effects your brain and body, and especially if it is illegal where you live.

Give yourself a few more weeks to try to ‘detox’ and make sure you are getting a lot of alcohol-free and caffeine-free fluids. Try to eat mostly fresh, unprocessed foods, and mostly fruits and vegetables. Take brisk walks after dinner and try to stick to a set sleep/wake schedule as mentioned above.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@hearkat I love your advice!! Have you ever heard of people to detox after a bad experience with a drug? Especially with my symptoms? I mean that’s the best way to describe how I feel sometimes like anxiety mixed with a hangover and a clogged ear. I do think the weird tired feelings I have been feeling is due to poor sleep. I’ve managed to stop the staying up all not sleep all day thing. I’m getting to bed now like I used to during school, some time between 9PM-12Am. But I am having a problem getting 8–9 hours sometimes. I wake up after like 4 or 5 and have a fast beating heart (probably anxiety) than I can’t get back to sleep. I start to worry. See last night I fell asleep at 12 am and woke up at 4:45. So I’ve been up since then and cognitively compared to how I used to feel before all this crap I’m at about 60% and I feel sleepy. So maybe not enough sleep is hindering my recovery.

hearkat's avatar

I’ve had that groggy, disoriented sensation at times in my life – especially in my 20s. I call them “Twilight Zone” periods. Of course, I didn’t have the knowledge or resources 25+ years ago when I was your age, and I attributed it to my sinuses. I found that if I just took it easy and took care of myself, the feeling would pass over time.

As I mentioned in my original response, even a 2–3 four difference in bedtime can have a jet-lag affect on the brain. Try to develop an evening routine – some exercise, like walking after dinner, helps digestion and circulation and respiration. Do not eat within 90 minutes before bedtime. Read through my above reply about more sleep suggestions; I do find that the sound generator helps me fall asleep and fall back asleep if I awaken during the night.

It takes about 3 weeks to develop new habits, and it’s only been about a week, and you’re noticing improvement. Tighten up the sleep schedule and focus on nutrition and hydration, and you should continue to feel better.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

So you think I’ll “detox” :(? I just want to stay positive. I just turned 20 in August and I made awesome grades this semester in college. I hate for this mistake of reacting weird to a drug hinder me forever. Christmas Day when the anxiety was really down I felt back to about 85%. My mother really worries a lot and my friends worry a lot and I don’t want people to feel sick for me because of my grogginess and worrying. Do you recommend I get another check up with the doctor and tell them about the incident? I wonder if any vitamins I can purchase can help my brain get rid of the grogginess and anxiety? Perhaps also energy. My friend who went through something similar said omega h3 helped. Thank you for your help too!

hearkat's avatar

Yes; I think you’ll detox from the marijuana. In my experience and observations, anxiety is far more toxic than some weed. I strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with a counselor when you get back to school, to work on getting your anxiety (which seems to run in your family) under control.

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