Chiari Online Support Group

Fizzing/sizzling sensation in back of head?


I’ve been diagnosed with occipitilization of the atlas, os odontoideum, and basilar impression, leaving me with a very narrow foramen magnum. These skeletal conditions are known to be associated with Chiari. I haven’tt had an MRI yet as it takes time for it to be scheduled.

A chiropractor adjusted my neck a week and a half ago. It hurt in the middle-to-upper left neck region when he did it. Ever since then, I’ve had off and on pressure headache in the back of my head. It is fairly mild. It doesn’t last long at all, maybe just a few minutes and then subsides. Sometimes when it subsides I feel a sort of fizzing or sizzling as if the pressure releases and then the pain subsides. But the fizzling or sizzling also happens sometimes even when there’s no pain. I also have some mild pain and pressure in the left temple. One time when I laid down I felt the rear pain shift to the bottom side of my head.

I also have off and on pain in the side of the neck where the pain was felt at the time of the adjustment.

Tonight I started feeling small pin pricks here and there in a few places, middle of my lower neck, thigh, buttocks, and bicep.

Do any of these symptoms sound alarming as Chiari symptoms, particularly the sizzling or fizzing sensation? Can you hear or feel spinal fluid (CSF) forcing its way through a partial blockage?

I really feel for those of you who have to deal with Chiari. I’m just learning of all this myself and am quite worried and anxious. I would greatly appreciate your input, especially if it (genuinely) assures me that a Chiari headache isn’t like this! Thanks!


Given your anatomical variation, I would strongly urge you to not return to a chiropractor and to not have anyone else manipulate your neck. I would also seek medical advice from a physician and indicate your concerns and symptoms post-chiropractic manipulations. Once checked out, I would also consider the possibility of alerting the chiropractor of your symptoms post-manipulations. Do not allow them to convince you to return.


Thanks. I’m in the process of doing that. In the meantime, I’m freaking out. No doctor seems to have an explanation for the sizzling or fizzing sensation. It’s sort of how it feels when you put your tongue to the back of your teeth and roof of your mouth, and then suck your saliva inward. Other ways to describe it might be bubbling, prickling, or tingling, although it’s not a surface level feeling on my skin as much as it is an inner feeling. And the sensation doesn’t itself hurt.

If anyone with Chiari is reading this and does NOT have this sensation even though they have partial CSF blockage, it would be a great encouragement for me to hear you don’t have this! And if you DO have what sounds like exactly this, it would be helpful to hear so I can more aggressively push for doctors to evaluate. Thank so much.


I do not think that you should be harvesting reassuring comments from people on this site about your symptoms until you have been cleared by medical folk. Doctor Google at its finest. Please be in touch once you are cleared and people can reminisce and discuss their symptoms freely without the threat of you being in medical distress and them saying “no… its fine. I had those exact symptoms for 8 months and nothing happened to me…” Of course, you can discuss your investigative journey as well.


First, I’m no doctor. Second, YES I have had that sensation my whole life. Third, I have no idea nor do I have proof it’s related to my Chiari situation (however I am strongly suspicious that it is).
To elaborate on my second point, when I was a kid, I would hear it maybe once in a blue moon or whenever I got an intravenous injection for various medical tests I would go through. Now I hear it probably 20 times a day. I’ve mentioned it to doctors and they look at me like I have three heads, but it’s just something that has been there…always just at varying degrees.
When chiari was found on my MRI, I went straight to a neurosurgeon for interpretation. I wasn’t thrilled with his manner, but he definitely agreed it was Chiari. Whether the two are related, I have no proof.
To reiterate: That’s just my personal experience and I’m no doctor.