Symptom throbbing – harmless or dangerous?

Symptom throbbing - harmless or dangerous?

Throbbing pain can occur in different parts of the body, for example, in the ear, head or the eye. The pounding is often in the same rhythm as the heartbeat (pulse-synchronous): You can feel your pulse. This symptom usually expresses an increased or changed blood flow in the affected region – for example, inflammation. In rare cases, however, a vascular bulge or a tumour can be behind the throbbing. Therefore, if you experience persistent throbbing pain, you should always seek medical advice. You can read more about the different causes of throbbing pain here.

Throbbing in the ear with inflammation of the middle ear

In the ear, a throbbing is often noticeable as a pulsating noise. A middle ear infection is often the cause if it occurs together with earache. Fever, fatigue, and hearing loss in the affected ear are also usually present.

An ear examination can easily detect a middle ear infection. An antibiotic can be used during treatment, which takes about five to seven days.


vascular diseases as a cause

If the throbbing in the ear occurs without accompanying ear pain, vascular disease may be behind it. In older people, the vascular calcification that increases with age ( arteriosclerosis ) often leads to narrowing of the vessels. The blood then has to overcome an increased resistance, which can be heard as a throbbing noise in the vessels in the head area.

In addition, a pounding in the ear can be caused by:

  • Vascular bulging (aneurysm)
  • Malformation of veins or arteries
  • Splitting of the wall layers of a vessel (dissection)
  • “Short circuit” between arteries and veins (arteriovenous fistula)
  • increase in intracranial pressure
  • anaemia
  • vascular tumour

If the pounding in the ear occurs independently of the rhythm of the heartbeat, it may be a form of tinnitus. The difference to the pulse-synchronous throbbing is that with a subjective tinnitus, there is no source of noise inside the body – such as the blood flow.

If you hear or feel a pounding in your ear for several days, it is best to seek medical advice from an ear, nose and throat specialist. In this way, a possible disease of the ears can be determined. A CT or MRI may be done to determine the cause of the pounding in your ear. Throbbing toothache

If there is a throbbing in the tooth, this is usually an indication of an inflammation of the tooth root. The most common cause of this is advanced caries, which have penetrated the enamel into the tooth’s interior. More rarely, grinding teeth or a crooked wisdom tooth can also cause tooth root inflammation.

After removing the wisdom teeth, the wound occasionally becomes inflamed, which can also be expressed by throbbing. In addition, inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) or inflammation of the gums (periodontitis) can cause throbbing toothache. Inflammation around the tooth, such as sinusitis, can also cause a throbbing pain in the tooth.

Another possible trigger is an injury to the nerve of the tooth. This can happen, for example, due to a blow or impact.

You should have a throbbing tooth checked by a dentist as early as possible because if left untreated, inflammation in the tooth area can spread quickly and possibly lead to the loss of the affected teeth.


Usually harmless: pounding in the head

Throbbing headaches are widespread and can occur with migraines or tension headaches. Occasional pounding in the head that responds to painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen is usually harmless. Throbbing headaches can also occur as part of a sinus or frontal sinus infection. However, if you suffer from headaches more than eight times a month, you should have this checked out by a doctor.

A medical examination is essential, mainly if other symptoms include nausea, stiff neck, paralysis or tingling.

If you have an extremely severe headache that comes on very suddenly (“annihilation headache”), or if you experience loss of consciousness or confusion, you should call 911 immediately, as this could be a sign of a brain haemorrhage or stroke.

throbbing in the eye

A throbbing sensation in the upper or lower lid of the eye can occur as part of harmless muscle twitching. These involuntary contractions of the small muscles around the eye are temporary in many people and are usually not a cause for alarm. The exact causes of eye twitching are unknown – it is only suspected that stress or a magnesium deficiency can play a role.

In addition, other causes such as fatigue, dry eyes or near- or far-sightedness can also be considered triggers.

If the throbbing in the eye occurs with painful eyelid swelling, it could be due to an inflammation of the sebaceous or sweat glands – a so-called style. In most cases, a stye heals on its own without needing treatment.

Red light or (dry) warm compresses can relieve the pain. You should consult an ophthalmologist if the stye does not heal or the entire eye is very painful and red.

Heart palpitations: regular when stressed

Feeling your heartbeat pounding in your chest when you are excited or during physical exertion is entirely normal. Also, an occasional extra heartbeat or “heart palpitations” is often harmless but can also indicate a cardiac arrhythmia or heart valve disease.

If the heart rate is permanently elevated, i.e., above the average 100 heartbeats per minute in an adult, this is referred to as tachycardia. Irregular, additional heartbeats are called extrasystoles. Also, Atrial fibrillation can be behind heart palpitations.

You should, therefore, always seek medical advice if you notice an irregular heartbeat. This also applies if the pounding heart at rest is noticeable. If you also experience dizziness, difficulty breathing or chest pain, consult a doctor immediately.


Throbbing in the abdomen: rule out an aneurysm

A pounding in the abdomen is often caused by the pulse in the main artery. The pulsation can even be visible through the abdominal wall in very slim people. This is also usually harmless, but a bulging of the main artery ( aortic aneurysm ) can also be the cause, in which the throbbing is particularly noticeable when lying down. Whether an aneurysm is present should always be clarified by a doctor. The suspicion can usually be ruled out with a simple ultrasound examination.

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