Do you experience a sensation of an electric shock in your head and dizziness?
It’s not that you’re going crazy, it’s just that your brain is creating a new form of sensory input. This shocking feeling in the head and dizziness are often referred to as “brain zaps.”
So, what are brain zaps?
Brain zaps are a symptom of a common condition called Paresthesia. One might experience this sensation when they rub their arm after having been asleep on it for too long or if they have an itch on their foot but can’t reach it with their hand. Brain zap sensations are also experienced by those who suffer from epilepsy, migraines, and other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Causes of brain zaps
The possible causes of Paresthesia are anxiety, stress, depression, epilepsy, caffeine withdrawal, lack of sleep, malnutrition, and tinnitus. Other medical conditions can cause this condition to occur as well.
Treatments for brain zaps
There are usually no treatments necessary for those who experience brain zaps as this symptom is temporary and harmless. However, if you don’t want to experience the zaps again, you should identify and avoid whatever triggers them
For those who experience brain zaps as a result of caffeine withdrawal, decreasing your intake of caffeinated products can help decrease or eliminate these symptoms. Avoiding stress and practicing relaxing methods such as meditation can also help ease the symptoms of Paresthesia.
Home remedies for brain zaps
Those who suffer from brain zaps can try the following at home to help ease their symptoms:
· Drink plenty of water. Dehydration has been shown to worsen brain zap symptoms, so staying hydrated can help fight off these shocks.
· Eat healthily and exercise regularly. Taking care of your body will help it work at its best, which will ultimately lead to fewer headaches and thus fewer brain zaps. People who are in shape often experience less stress, which may also decrease the presence of Paresthesia.
· Consume more omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous benefits for our physical and mental health. A few of these benefits include lowering anxiety levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Fatty acids may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Paresthesia as well.
· Avoid stress as much as possible. Stress is one of the most common triggers for those who suffer from brain zaps. By learning ways to decrease your stress levels, you can greatly reduce potential zap episodes in the future.
· Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine is a common trigger for those who feel brain zaps, so it’s best to avoid it if you want to decrease the chances of these symptoms cropping up. While it may be difficult to do at first while you wean yourself off caffeinated products, once your body becomes accustomed to living without caffeine, you’ll find that your brain zap episodes become less and less frequent.
· Try relaxation techniques. Meditation and yoga provide numerous mental and physical benefits such as allowing the body to relax and easing anxiety levels. These activities can also help ease the symptoms of Paresthesia.
When to see a doctor
While Paresthesia is not usually serious, it’s important to note that this condition is often a result of another more serious issue. If you experience any of the following with your Paresthesia, you should contact your doctor immediately:
· The zaps last longer than two minutes.
· You experience pain with the zaps.
· You experience numbness with the zaps.
· The zaps are accompanied by a fever or muscle weakness.
Brain zap symptoms are temporary and harmless, but if you don’t want to suffer from them again, you should monitor your lifestyle and habits so that you can hopefully avoid triggers in the future. Also, if you experience any of the more serious symptoms with your brain zaps, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is responsible for sensation in the face, forehead, eyes, cheeks, and jaw.
The exact cause of TN is not known, but it’s believed that an abnormality in the blood vessels or nerves surrounding the brainstem may be responsible. When this happens, the result is usually recurring episodes of severe pain which can last for a few seconds to several minutes. The severity and frequency of these attacks vary from person to person and some people even experience pain-free periods between attacks.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
The symptoms of TN are directly related to the location of the affected nerve. Besides facial pain, some other common symptoms associated with this condition include:
· Tingling sensations in the face or jaw area.
· A sharp electric shock-like sensation on one side of the face.
· Numbness in the area around and including the lips and cheek.
· Muscle spasms in and around your mouth.
· Eye pain or dry eyes.
If you experience any combination of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent further complications from developing along with TN.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatments
There are many treatment options for those who suffer from TN and the doctor you consult will be able to recommend one that suits your specific needs. Some of the most common treatments include:
· Anti-convulsant medications – These medications help reduce the number and severity of attacks by preventing nerve irritation. Some of the more common anti-convulsant medications prescribed are Carbamazepine, Gabapentin, and Lamotrigine.
· Surgical Procedures – Several surgical procedures can help ease the pain associated with TN including microvascular decompression which helps to relieve pressure on affected blood vessels, radiofrequency thermal ablation which involves heat being applied to the trigeminal nerve endings and stereotactic radiosurgery which uses focused beams of radiation.
· Other Medications – While surgery may not be an option for you, your doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioids. These medications work by decreasing pain symptoms so that you can experience a better quality of life.
Again, it’s important to note that everyone will react differently to each treatment option and your doctor will base his choice on the location and severity of your TN as well as your lifestyle and preferences.
You should also be aware that not all treatments have been proven effective for every person so you may have to try several options before you find one that works for you.
What is brain shakes?
Brain shakes refer to the sudden, brief, and sometimes even mild electric shock-like sensations that some people feel at random. Some describe it as a quick jolt or buzz of electricity throughout their head with others feeling a slight numbness around the mouth area.
The most common brain shake symptoms are:
· Sudden electric shock sensation down your neck and into your shoulders.
· Sudden electric shock sensation back and forth from one temple to the other temple.
· Sudden electric shock sensation down your spine.
Other symptoms that may occur at the same time as a brain shake include:
· A delayed aftershock similar to muscle spasms or tingling that spreads throughout your body which gradually goes away over several minutes or hours. These are called “aftershocks.”
· Feeling of tightness in the chest area with shortness of breath, feeling like you can’t breathe properly, or having trouble swallowing. This is commonly referred to as “air hunger” and results in panicky feelings.
These symptoms are very similar to epileptic seizures, but they aren’t brought on by epilepsy and usually don’t last longer than a few seconds. While they may be somewhat worrying, brain shakes themselves aren’t dangerous or harmful to your health and typically go away on their own after several minutes.
Treatment for brain shakes
Since symptoms usually disappear without treatment, your doctor will first look at the symptoms you have to determine if they are related to another condition. For example, symptoms similar to those of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (a precursor for a stroke) should be checked on immediately so that doctors can rule out any serious health problems.
If symptoms don’t subside after an hour or two and you’ve ruled out other medical conditions, then it’s most likely that you’re having benign essential tremors instead of seizures. This makes anti-epileptic medications like Phenytoin (Dilantin) the best course of action for treatment because seizures need fast-acting drugs ASAP before their effects spread throughout your body.
I hope you can find a way to get through your day. If not, we’re sorry this happened to you. If it continues, we recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible. You may have a serious health condition and we want to help if that’s the case. In any event, your safety is of utmost importance and we hope you feel better soon.