Do you sometimes feel like the world around you is spinning in a crazy way? Perhaps it feels like everything is unbalanced. A buildup of pressure in ears and head cavities, called your sinuses, is the main reason this happens. This pressure can lead to fainting, a rocking sensation, or more serious effects. The worst part is that it happens when you’re sitting or standing still. So why does this buildup happen and what can be done to treat the symptoms?


If you’ve heard of “vertigo” before, you probably think it means a fear of heights. The truth is that it is the medical name given to the buildup of pressure in specific parts of your ear canal or head. You can simulate vertigo by spinning in place for a while, which causes your brain to experience a slight pressure buildup that leads to dizziness. Vertigo causes nausea and sensations similar to motion sickness. This can also happen due to concussions, altitude changes, hearing loss, a sinus infection or sinus headaches, high blood pressure or low blood pressure, tinnitus, and many others.


There are two things that cause vertigo. Both of these can happen at the same time or they can happen independently of each other. The effect is basically the same, but the treatment can be different. The two parts of your body that can be affected in such a way that vertigo is induced are your brain and ears. In the inner ear, the small hairs and organs that give your brain information on your state of balance are very vulnerable to pressure. In your head itself, the parts of the brain that deal with such information can also be stimulated by pressure.

When it comes to your inner ear, the cause of a pressure buildup is usually a blocked tube called the Eustachian tube. This can lead to air being trapped inside, leading to an imbalance of pressure. Some people are born with tubes that are narrower than normal or are prone to failure. Another major cause is a change in air pressure outside the ear. This is usually due to a change in altitude such as when a plane is climbing or landing, or when you are going up a mountain. 

Other causes include ear infections where a fluid buildup occurs in the sinus cavities and most respiratory conditions including bronchitis.

Your sinus cavities are all connected to each other. This means that what is in your ears can easily reach your head and affect it too. A change in air pressure, for example, can cause your body to fail to regulate its own pressure. This can lead to your brain being stimulated to respond in terms of the pressure it is currently feeling, which is not the one you’re in. This imbalance leads to a literal confusion in your brain. You become dizzy because your brain is struggling to process the information from inside and outside the body, which is in direct contradiction with each other.


pressure in ears and head

If you have congestion in your head, there are many treatment options available for you. There are pills that use chemicals which can cause your blood vessels to shrink. The blood vessels in your sinus, when they expand, can block your sinuses up. Shrinking them allows your brain to clear the blockage up and get rid of the excess pressure. Other options involving medicines include Tylenol and similar products.

You can also try a nasal spray. This is a very effective tool if used sparingly. Take this advice to heart—a nasal spray can be a curse as easily as it is a blessing. Overuse of a useful nasal spray can lead to dependence, even more congestion, and other side effects. Naturally, you could also try hot showers and humidifiers in your home to loosen the mucus buildup in your cavities, which can help relieve the effects of pressure in ears and head.

Finally, many people choose to inhale steam. This sounds weird, but it works. Take a pot of boiling water, bend over it and cover your head and the pot with a towel. This prevents steam from escaping. Take long, deep breaths to inhale the steam into your respiratory passages. It loosens any and all mucus and provides near-instant relief from all the effects of a buildup of pressure in your head.


head ear pressure

Relieving pressure in your ears can be easy or difficult based on what caused it. If the cause is a simple imbalance, it won’t be a problem. You can yawn, chew gum, swallow hard, and do anything else that opens and closes your nasal tubes. 

All of these also open the Eustachian tube (see above) and regulate your inner ear pressure. You can also try taking slow breaths while pinching your nose shut.

If you have the resources, you can also lie on your side and use hot, damp paper towels to cover your ears. The heat from the towels will force your ear passages to expand, clearing congestion up. 

Of course, you can also opt for standard over-the-counter decongestants if you don’t want to go to all this trouble. They can clear your sinuses and help with head and ear pressure at the same time.


This is one of the main points to remember when you’re trying to treat that nasty pressure buildup in ears and head. Your sinuses are connected, and what affects one will affect the other. This is a useful fact to keep in mind when you’re figuring out causes and when taking treatment. 

If you’re treating congestion in your ears, it is very likely that the treatment will clear up any congestion in your head as well. If you continue to experience severe pressure in your head and ears, though, you need to see a doctor. It could be a sign of a chronic condition that requires special attention. With the right medical help, you could be on the path to vertigo and pressure-free life!

Videos by Dr. Mandell

In my opinion, he is the best when it comes to fast relief methods and simple explanation of complex topics. Below I've listed some of his self-help videos. Please, try to do some of his techniques. You might be amazed how such simple things can bring so much relief.

Post by:

Pavel Kotlykov

I'm the creator of this website. I share what I've learned bringing my own life to balance. I have found a way. I've been educating myself for the past several years in order to understand a bigger picture with research, interviews, and many self-experiments. Dizziness is only a surface symptom of a very complex ocean of underlying imbalances including our minds. I hope you found what you've been looking for. If yes, please consider subscribing to our newsletter further down this page. If you haven't found an answer, check out other blog posts here, or leave a comment below.

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