Pulsating in head: How to Fix And Avoid?

A long tiring day can surely break you down. What makes it worse, is that bothersome pulsating sensation in your head. However, this is not always linked with a headache

So why are you having this sensation of pulsating in head no pain? 

It can be a migraine attack, palpitations, pulsatile tinnitus, tension headache, temporal arteritis, etc. You should definitely get yourself checked if you sense that something is wrong. No need to panic. 

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It always gets better with treatment. Along with the causes, some proven tips and tricks to get rid of that annoying pulsating sensation are also mentioned. Keep reading to find out.

Causes of Pulsating Sensation In The Head 

The pulsating sensation in your head can be caused by many agents. Again, the pattern of your pain may vary. Sometimes, it might include only one side of your head. And sometimes you feel it all over the head. 

pulsating-in-head-no-pain

Certainly, all of these have various causes. Let’s move into the details!

Pulsating in the head with no pain:

Here, we have discussed a few common causes behind pulsating in the head with no pain.

Palpitations

Palpitation is the rapid pulsation, usually an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat which can be caused by anxiety, panic attacks, arrhythmia or vigorous exercise, or heavy weight lifting. 

This fast heart rate can cause pulsations and pressure in your head. It may or may not be accompanied by pain.

When you are experiencing palpitations your heart rate rises above 100 beats per minute. This is known as tachycardia. The normal heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

However, during normal activities, your heart rate can rise up to 150 to 170 beats per minute. Anything above that needs medical attention.

Palpitations might indicate certain underlying causes such as a drop in blood sugar, reduced hemoglobin, thyroid problems, mitral valve prolapse, etc. If you are facing problems with your heart rate it is best to consult your doctor. 

Tests like echocardiogram and measurement of blood pressure in regular intervals might help diagnose the underlying causes. 

Pulsatile Tinnitus

Pulsatile tinnitus is when you have a pulsating feeling in your head along with your tinnitus. 

You might be experiencing pulsatile due to a turbulent blood flow in the blood vessels near your air. When high-pressure blood flow and low-pressure blood flow start to flow against each other it can cause turbulent blood flow.

It can also be caused due to obstructions in the blood vessels. It can be a thrombus, atherosclerotic plug which is an obstruction formed due to lipid deposition, or in severe cases, it can be a tumor.

Tension Headaches

You can feel pulsating in your head due to tension headaches. Tension headaches are usually triggered by fatigue, panic, anxiety, stress, and/or anger. The symptoms might include but are not limited to, soreness in your head, stiff head and neck muscles, aching around the head which feels like a tight elastic around your head. 

Over-the-counter prescription medicine is usually enough to get rid of such pain. However, your doctor might suggest relaxation therapy along with the medication for a more effective result.

Migraine Attacks

The good old migraine might be behind your pulsating sensation. Migraine is a persistent throbbing pain that can be situated on your temple, side of the head, or in other places on your head. It is usually initiated as a dull numbing pain then it progresses into a pulsating headache.

If the migraine gets worse, then you might experience nausea and vomiting. You might also have other accompanying symptoms like sensitivity to light and loud noise. 

Migraine headaches are usually treated with over-the-counter drugs. Relaxation therapy and biofeedback can give good results.

Temporal Arteritis

You may have temporal arteritis if the pulsating and throbbing in your head is persistent and it is too sensitive to touch your temples. Temporal arteritis means the inflammation of the arteries in your temple. It can also be known as giant cell arteritis.

You may feel a rise in temperature, lethargy, and fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, blurry vision, etc. The throbbing can be persistent to the point where it becomes numb. This condition usually occurs when your antibodies act against the walls of the artery. 

This in turn forms a swelling, also known as inflammation. This swelling obstructs blood flow resulting in the pulsatile headache. 

A biopsy may be carried out by your doctor to diagnose this condition. Prednisone and other steroids can help treat the condition.

Pulsating in head and dizziness

Sometimes, you might feel dizziness along with having pulsating sensation in your head. The following might be the reasons:

Inner Ear Inflammation (Labyrinthitis)

The inflammation of the inner ear is known as labyrinthitis. Labyrinth is part of the ear that is responsible for the sensation of hearing and for maintenance of balance. Though the exact cause behind labyrinthitis is yet to be unraveled, the inflammation is often associated with viral ear infections.

If you are suffering from an inner ear infection then you might encounter symptoms like pain in the ear, pus formation, or discharge from the ear, difficulty in maintaining balance, dizziness, ringing in the ear, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, etc.

It is best to consult a doctor especially an ENT specialist who can provide you with proper guidance for your ear infection. Ear infections can be contagious. Thus, treatment should be started as soon as possible.

Drug Reactions

Taking multiple drugs of different sorts can often cause reactions in your body. If you are taking Over-the-counter drugs with prescribed drugs then you must run it past your doctor first. Some particular foods can also cause reactions.

These interactions between drugs and food products can give rise to side effects. These side effects might be the cause behind your pulsating in the head with no pain. They might even lead to dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Pulsating feeling in left side of head no pain

Headaches can be primary or secondary. The pulsating on side of the head can be caused by several reasons.

Migraine attacks

Migraine attacks tend to shift to one side of the head. Migraine pain can be throbbing and can be more severe on one side. The pain can stay around the eye then shift to the temples.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches can be another cause of the pulsating feeling on the left side. It can be characterized by pain around one eye, pulsating on one side of the head. The pain stays for 30 to 40 minutes but is peaked for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cervicogenic headaches

Cervicogenic headaches can cause pulsating feelings on the left side of your head. It can be caused due to injury to the neck such as whiplash injury, cervical vertebra injury, etc. It is a type of pain that starts from the neck and can spread to one side of the face and around the eyes.

Accompanying symptoms may be blurred vision, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, stiffness of the neck and shoulders causing impaired movement.

Vasculitis

Inflammation of the blood vessels is known as vasculitis. It occurs when antibodies attack the wall of the blood vessels. These cause swelling and causes disturbance in the blood flow which results in pulsating or headaches in one side of the head.

Aneurysms

Aneurysms can also cause pulsating feelings on the left side of the head. An aneurysm is when the blood vessels swell. It often shows symptoms when it has ruptured, causing a hemorrhage. It is a life-threatening situation. The patient may feel a thunder-clap sensation which can feel like being hit on one side.

Pulsating in Head No Pain When I Stand Up

Pulsating in the head when standing up can be caused by the following reasons:

Low-pressure headaches

Low-pressure headaches can be the reason behind the pulsating and throbbing sensation when you stand up. Medically it is known as Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension. It is a very rare condition that occurs to only 1 in every 50 thousand people. 

These headaches are triggered when you stand up from laying down. But a supine position helps reduce the pulsating feeling.

Other causes

It can be caused by the following conditions: 

  • migraines, 
  • cluster headaches, 
  • palpitation, 
  • temporal arteritis, 
  • aneurysm, etc. 

It is important for you to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. 

Remedies For Pulsating in Head

To get relief from your pulsating headache it is necessary to get a proper diagnosis. Not every headache is the same and not every headache has the same treatment. It is best to get a thorough check-up done for you to identify the underlying cause.

You can try out both home remedies and medical treatment for your problem. Take a quick glance at the details:

Home remedies

You can try some home remedies first. They might provide you with some temporary relief.

  • Resting always helps. Try to get some rest and proper sleep.
  • You can try applying a cold compress or a hot compress at the site of the pain or pulsating feeling.
  • Consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Reside in a dark room away from excessive sensory stimulation.
  • Hot tea often helps with headaches.

Medical treatments

Home remedies might not give permanent results. So, you need proper treatment for the underlying cause to be healed.  Here are treatments that your doctor might suggest.

  • For migraines, you might be suggested to take an over-the-counter medicine. Opioids, ergotamines, triptans, etc can be prescribed for migraines. But it is necessary to identify your triggers and avoid them.
  • Sinusitis can be threatened with decongestants. Steam inhalation with menthol also helps clear the sinuses.
  • Oxygen supply can help provide relief from cluster headaches. Topical capsaicin creams can also provide relief. Melatonin, calcium channel blockers, nerve blockers, or even corticosteroids may be prescribed.
  • In the case of temporal arteritis unfortunately the condition cannot be cured. The treatment regimen is mainly focused on minimizing tissue damage. Corticosteroids may be prescribed.
  • Low-pressure headaches are simply treated with rest, caffeine, and steroids. Epidural patches can help provide relief.

All of this is provided for information purposes only. Don’t try to consider self-medication. Always consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

FAQs

Question: Why does my head throb but no pain?

Answer: Throbbing in the head can be quite common. It can be the normal blood flow. However, there can be other causes like Migraine, sinusitis, hangover, aneurysms, cluster headache, vasculitis, etc.

Question: Why do the veins in my head throb?

Answer: The vein in your head throbs because there is blood flowing through it. It is quite normal. However, if the throbbing is accompanied by discomfort then it can indicate many underlying medical conditions. Consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Question: Does the brain pulsate?

Answer: The brain is a jelly-like consistency and it has blood vessels run through and over it. With each heartbeat, the blood vessels pulsate.

Question: Why is my head pounding in one spot?

Answer: You may be experiencing a headache. It might be caused by a migraine attack, sinusitis, vasculitis, etc.

Question: Why do I feel pulsating in my head?

Answer: Your head may be pulsating due to causes relating to a headache. Problems with the blood flow or certain genetic conditions can cause pulsating feelings in your head.

Final Words

Headaches can be confusing. Sometimes you might feel a pulsating in head but no pain. It is necessary to identify the underlying cause.

Whatever might be the cause, a proper diagnosis is necessary. However, in order to get temporary relief you might consider some home remedies. 

But, you shouldn’t sit around if the symptoms get worse. Consult your doctor to get a more permanent solution.

Sabriha Hasan

Sabriha Hasan

I'm Sabriha Hasan, a 3rd year medical student from Armed Forces Medical College. I chose to study medicine to do something for the greater good and to use my skills and knowledge to provide relief to those who are suffering. Writing is second nature to me. I always try to provide readers with necessary information that would not only quench their thirst for knowledge but also help them in long run.

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