Has anybody else had this weird throbbing sensation in back of neck

Hi guys

I have a veritange symptom. The doctor doesn't even know what I mean when I describe it, and says it is all in my head (well, yes - I suppose she is right!)

It is basically a strong throbbing sensation in the arteries at the back of my neck and head, sometimes with a slight headache feeling and often with tension in upper back/neck. I am not sure quite what causes it although I believe some foods, stress and tension make it worse. I don't get it every day and when I am sitting or standing it is much less noticeable, but it makes it impossible to sleep when it happens as it is much worse lying down.

Its often accompanied by feeling too hot but having a low core temperature (below 36 C).

I figure it might be high blood pressure or some weird type of migraine.

The only possible reason for it that Dr Google came up with were slightly terrifying things like a blocked artery, encephalitis, etc which concerned me initially but then I thought, well I'd probably already be dead if that was the case ;)

As I say the doctor thinks I have a good imagination and tension headaches didn't quite fit the description, so I am not sure.

So I thought I'd give it a shot and see if anyone else has had this and or knew anything about it.

Thank you loads


31 Replies

I get this occasionally and have put it down to insufficient dose on my thyroid meds

Oh that's very interesting. Thank you. It is unpleasant for you but reassuring for me that someone else gets this too. Cheers! :)

Sounds like it might be mild serotonin syndrome. I know this because I've just had a major episode myself. I take NDT and was getting mild headaches and mood swings so thought I'd supplement with 5HTP. Major mistake. It started with hunger pangs then slight nausea, then a galloping heart rate, sweats, shortness of breath, myoclonus and the shivering. It's like being on E but without the euphoria or knowing when it'll stop.

There is a know relationship between thyroid activity and 5-HTP sensitivity and serotonin levels. See nature.com/mp/journal/v7/n2... I'd check your diet or supplements for a causal factor. I'm reducing my thyroid dosage and cutting out the 5-HTP.

twospoons Just out of curiosity, what dose of 5-HTP created the problems you describe?

I've been taking 50mg of 5-HTP for over 5 years and it works wonders for me.

However, increasing the dose makes me feel jittery and unwell. What puzzles me is that the most common dose of tablets/capsules sold is 100mg, and the 50mg tablets are quite a bit harder to get hold of. I've even seen some brands sold in a 200mg dose which is absolute lunacy as far as I'm concerned.

I actually wonder how many people have developed problems because the tablets are sold in too high a dose.

That's a possibility because I had a test that showed my serotonin and dopamine were low. But then you might mean that yours was too high, I'm not sure. I've heard of 5 HTP but I don't know what it does? Is it in any foods by any chance?

Thanks so much, its really helpful to me that this is a known thing. I hope you feel better because it is really not so good.

Cheers :)

5-HTP does not exist in normal foods. In a healthy person who is not taking any 5-HTP it is made in the body from other substances.


Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). 5-HTP is converted into serotonin.

People take 5-HTP as an anti-depressant and it must not be taken with other anti-depressants. This is true of all anti-depressants, not just 5-HTP.

Thanks for clarifying humanbean. I guess if 5htp was not being converted, or was being converted to too much serotonin, one might start to notice some problems. I don't have enough serotonin though, so no worries there :) maybe it is just yet another adrenal fatigue symptom.


I have had very similar but I also had/have dreadful pressure building up in my head, I had throbbing everywhere all thru the nervous system, and the back of my neck and down spine, it was worse at night like laying on a vibrating washing machine, it started 2010 and only just have become much less altho I don't want to shout as it happened before and I thought it

went and then came back, but I have had a lot of trauma in my life for years and I too looked at dr google, I found Substance P,not sure if youcanlocate any of my posts from 2010 onwards but I figured it was nervous system, or Sub P excess, stress andnow I wonder if lyme has infiltrated the nerves, I have so many tests and no anser yet- but at the moment calmed down but again I am sitting onhot bricks as I have had a mega load of stress. I hpe yougetto thebottom of it.

I'm sorry to hear you've had such a rough time of it. It seems unfair that just when we are stressed and could do with a break our bodies decide to go to pieces! I do believe stress especially chronic stress is very damaging and I have certainly had alot of it too, so maybe that's what this odd symptom is about.

Sounds scary to have it all over your body. I'm glad it has improved for the moment. I have adrenal fatigue quite badly, maybe you do too? Dr Lam has some great stuff about adrenal fatigue. I wonder if this symptom is an adrenal reaction.

Thanks for your help and stay strong :)

superparrot, iforgot to mention my adrenals were shot, and that I show I found substance p, I found a briilaint article written by the guy who had wellness website, icant remember his name, substance p is worse at night and when adrenals ar eshot or too much stress the body produces it, google it and you may well find it, I willlook as well.

That sounds really interesting, I will defo look that up. Thanks so much and all the best to you :)

I amfollowing you around here,

there is a lot on byrons site wellnessresources.com/healt...

Awesome, thank you! Your very welcome to follow me around :)


found it super parrot-- Byron Richards is th eguy- he is sadly dead now, a couple of year sago but his family keep hi s website going, I emailed him and he asnwerd me on a podcast, a truly nice intelligent guy, look up Substance P, it may relate to you or not- the nervous system is delicate. I hope this may help.

Yeah I looked it up and it sounds very interesting. I will keep reading and thanks so much for all the links, I really appreciate it.

you are welcome - I have been there superparrot - its horrible when you suffer and haven't any idea whats wrong-it may not be sub p but thenit might as you have adrenals prob as well. keep me posted and wish you well. x

Thank you so much. I will keep you posted for sure! :)


scroll to substance P


superparraot, I was looking for this one as I found this 6 years ago when mine started, I was convinced that it 'Substance P' had a connection to low cortisol, and I searched and found this, it mentions it nearer to the bottom.

I have occasional feeling of thickness at the base of my skull, with a feeling of being a bit wobbly and slightly muggy head. This used to happen occasionally and last for less than a day. As you say, it's difficult to explain to the doc.

Recently it went on for over 2 weeks, so back to the doc - blood tests all ok, etc. Then took myself to the osteopath who eased my neck, which was rather tight. This did the trick - had to go back to osteopath a few times, but now it hasn't happened for several weeks, so fingers crossed that I've found the solution for me and brain now back in action. I try to do neck exercises whenever I think about it.

Hope you find something that works for you.

Hi Anthea, I think your osteopath was very astute. I've been posting Dr. John Bergman ever since Blue Pettals introduced him to the forum. That crucial area of the neck which can interfere with the cerebral fluid if the curve is gone causes many problems. He feels Parkinson's and bipolar may be two of them.

The stored stress that builds up needs to be released.

What are the exercises you use? Dr. Bergman recommends one pulling the neck forward while leaning the head back. Tense muscles can be devastating.

Thanks Heloise, that's fascinating. I felt sure that something was interfering with messages to my brain. I've wondered if sitting badly is part of the problem.

Many years ago I knew a doctor who manipulated necks for headaches etc, but I don't think anyone does that now.

I just do simple exercises from the NHS physio - neck rotation, right and left; head bending right and left; head forward chin down to chest.

I'll look up Dr John Bergman - his exercises will be an improvement.

Bergman has vast knowledge and has many videos on you tube. I've been watching this one about tinnitus. The one on the nervous system is great as well. He also has the chiropractic manipulations on video as well as his teaching sessions.

I forgot about his saying regarding cervical vertebrae "C3,4,5 keep you alive".

That's interesting, I do hold a lot of tension in thetop of my back between the shoulders. How much did your osteopath treatment cost, if you don't mind? Thanks for your help, glad your doing better now :)

I don't like to put costs on here publicly. First visit will cost more as they take your history etc, followups less. Ring up the practice you think of going to and ask them.

The really important thing, in my experience, is to find someone good. Best if you can get a recommendation from someone who has used them. This one is about 15 miles away, but worth it.

I used to get a throbbing, buzzing sensation in the back of my head, top of my neck. I had a lovely GP at the time who seem to know what it was. He said it was viral and to do with my inner ear. He said it would pass which it did although I have had it a couple of time since. He did give me a latin name for it but I cant remember this.

Oh cool thank you. That does sound alot like it. Perhaps I just have a bit of a virus hanging about. That would be nice and simple :)

Yes I know exactly the sensation. I don't have it when I'm laying down but it only happens certain a times of the month so I'm pretty sure it's hormonal. It could be a symptom of a migraine. I don't have a solution or name for it. Only my sympathies.

Well your sympathies are very welcome! I'm honestly just glad that other people know what I'm talking about. I'm quite prone to both migraines and tension so its probably got alot to do with that. I'm sorry you have it too. I hope we find a solution. Thanks for your help :)

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