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What is a Headrush?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A headrush is a sudden sensation of dizziness which occurs when someone rises from a seated position. This condition is often accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, which vary depending on the root cause of the dizziness. Many people have experienced a headrush at some point in their lives, but persistent dizziness can indicate that there is an underlying medical problem which needs to be addressed.

Usually, the strange sensation passes after a few seconds, although it can be very disorienting. Someone experiencing a headrush may feel like he or she is about to fall, and the desire to hold onto something such as a chair or table for balance may be intense.

Several things can cause a headrush. Commonly, the dizziness are associated with balance disorders, in which the inner ear is not functioning like it should be, so the body feels out of balance. In fact, the body is perfectly well balanced, but the inner ear thinks that it is not, and as a result, neurotransmitters start to fire in an attempt to correct the problem. In these cases, the headrush may be accompanied with a sense of spinning or shifting out of place, and vomiting, nausea, and blurred vision are not uncommon.

Drops in blood pressure can also cause dizziness. In a classic example, blood pools in the extremities of someone seated for a long time, and when he or she rises, it takes a minute for the blood to reach the brain. Until it does, a sensation of lightheadedness, spotty vision, or dizziness may be experienced. Orthostatic hypotension, as this type of blood pressure disorder is formally known, is more common in older people.

Some illnesses are also associated with dizziness, ranging from neurological problems to conditions associated with drug abuse. While dizziness now and then is fairly normal, if someone experiences repeated headrushes or headrushes which are unusually long, it is time for a trip to the doctor. The doctor can diagnose the root cause of the dizziness, prescribing treatment which will address the problem and hopefully eliminate the dizziness in the process.

Treatment for conditions which cause headrushes is quite diverse, and can include the use of medication, physical therapy, dietary recommendations, increased exercise, and so forth. Sometimes, headrushes have a genetic component, which may make them difficult to eliminate entirely, although the severity of the dizzy spells can be reduced.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon260649 — On Apr 11, 2012

I am getting extremely frequent headaches and headrushes, and it's starting to worry me because it's so regular. I also feel as though there's a lot of pressure on my head?

By anon192697 — On Jul 02, 2011

Thanks for the info. I have Autonomic Small Fiber Neuropathy and didn't know if my head rushes were normal and if what I experienced was just like other people or if mine were different and caused by the disorder. This site help me determine that the disorder is probably the cause of my head rushes. I appreciate the help.

By anon124158 — On Nov 04, 2010

What about self-provoked head rushes? I read a how-to somewhere and I tried it today, was really funny, but it hurt my head and affected my blood pressure. I passed out for like two seconds only to wake up a little out of myself. I laughed maniacally for like two minutes until I got back into consciousness. It was awkward.

By anon87555 — On May 31, 2010

I often experience head rushes. is it common for your head to feel like there is pressure on it while experiencing a head rush?

By anon49260 — On Oct 19, 2009

thanks for educating me. i really like that. just go on in providing education for the people like me who are curious to know more.

By anon48053 — On Oct 09, 2009

I think it's excellent web site.Do you have any information about forgetting information and cause of it.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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