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the dreaded brain ping 13 December, 2005

Posted by silentpyjamas in chronicle of the crazy.

what is this brain ping of which i speak?  i first mentioned it in another post that i made today.  the brain ping is a relatively recent phenomenon that began sometime between 3 and 5 years ago.  i can’t say for sure because a lot of the time my memory is murky.

it kind of happens like this.  i start to feel weird.  a kind of weird i can’t describe, because i can be in the middle of the weirdness and not realize it for a while.  just kind of “off.”  eventually there’s a smell.  i used to think it smelled like rancid garlic and butter but now i realize (after a fortuitous trip to the bar with my sister) that it is the exact smell of pear ale.  i’d never had it until a few weeks ago and the moment i caught a whiff of it i feelt kind of lightheaded because it was so incongruent to smell that and not be having an episode.  i told my sister “this is the smell i hallucinate!”  she replied “that’s deep.”

eventually i become pretty much immune to the smell (it takes me a couple of days) and then at some point i have a brain ping.  my brain simply goes pop!  like in the top left smewhere, maybe kind of near the middle.  i feel a sort of snapping sensation then a warmth spreads all over my head.  it’s a very strange sensation and it’s always accompanied by anxiety because while sometimes i get good ideas from the was of thoughts that follows, in the short term nothing good ever came from a brain ping.  sometimes it’s not too bad, other times it makes me itch in a way that is really disturbing.  it’s like a sort of phantom itch in my bones.  anyway the warmth and then after some time, and by some time i mean within around an hour or so reality dissolves around me and usually i don’t notice until i’m “back.”  i’ll be describing these little adventures because maybe by writing them i can figure them out.

i don’t get the brain pings very often, or maybe i do.  my memory of those kinds of times is suspect because i don’t know sometimes if something’s actually happened or if i’ve imagined it.  sometimes i kind of wonder if the brain pings are my mind attempting to reset itself in the midst of the crazy fake smells and all.  who knows?  next time i have one i’ll describe it better.



1. steph - 13 December, 2005

Sounds really weird. Sure you don’t have blood clots or something?

2. Isaac - 14 December, 2005

Um…yeah, I’d get that looked at.

3. whiskeykitten - 14 December, 2005

as long as you don’t smell burnt toast or burning leaves… you’re ok.

4. Junebug - 7 March, 2008

hey, i guess this is kinda old news to you, but I am experiencing a similar brain ‘popping’ sensation and since you seem to have some experience with it, i figure I’ll try and explain my own symptoms. No smells, or gaps in time like you seem to be describing, but definitely a popping sensation (exactly where you describe it) followed by a feeling of warmness that envelops my brain for around an hour or so. It seems to be occurring more frequently, and it started about nine months ago. I’m posting this because I’m hoping you might have some information on what it could be or know something that will be able to better explain it. if you have any information just post it in the form of a comment- thanks

5. Adam - 28 May, 2008

Sounds like a focal seizure to me. I’d get it checked out.

6. Jeanette - 1 September, 2008


I also have experienced brain popping sensation. A random x-ray, ct scan and following MRI revealed that I have two small aneurisms and a few ‘black areas or spots. Both neurologists I have consulted have completely dismissed my brain pooping/ping sensations. They looked completely mistified. I also have factor 5 Leidens disease which means I’m a clotter. I am amazed that other people are experiencing this as well.

I’m about to look up focal seizure now.
Regards and all the best from Perth Australia

7. Slobodan - 2 April, 2009

Ive had the same experience. I had a CT scan that revealed nothing and the doctors looked at me like Im crazy. A poppinng sensation that is followed by a sensation of warm water oozing done my brain. Sometime the pop causes intense pain, other time it makes my head itch. Of course when this happens I utterly freeze from fear as I think Im having an aneurism or something. I have other neurological sensations, and they dismissed it as part of that.

Scott - 8 April, 2010

I have had that same sensation of the popping and the warm liquid going down the side or back of my head. I have never experenced the itching but intense pain is definitly there and so are the other neurological sensationgs. Did you ever find out what it is or how it can be treated?

8. Joss - 20 January, 2010

I have ME/CFS/CFIDS – have had it for 13 years. At least that is the only diagnosis I have.

Before that I was a migraineur and a massive 2 week migraine was part of my getting ME.

I have said ‘pinging’ (noise and feeling like an elastic band ping) along with a sensation that I am falling through myself at a million miles an hour – this leads to warm spread of adreniline release.

Have you thought of migraine? Good site here:


9. Joss - 20 January, 2010

Oh – I also have a clotting thing called Thrombocytheamia… too many platelets.

10. Trudy - 8 March, 2010

Hi Joss, I have the brain pinging like you have… its exactly how you describe it, i thought i was going mad or at least had something seriously wrong going on in my brainx
I also suffer with migraines, that last for wks at a time. I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia/me/cfs and severe, chronic migraines, im now wondering after reading yr post if it is maybe connected to either the M.E or fibromyalgia, or possibly part of a migraine.
I’ve had migraines for yrs now, but never had this feeling with them. These begun 5yrs ago, but they were very rare, and only happened ocassionally, but now it seems its every few days, and i get dizziness after the ping sometimes. I was wondering if anyone had actually been seen by a doctor who actually knew what this was.
I have been getting quite worried, and scared, because the migraines have got so much worse, with this ping i begun to think that i had something serious going on in my brain.

11. F Murray - 31 May, 2010

I have had 4 pings in the last 2 years. I have a nonspecific lesion in my right Dentate Nucleus in my cerebellum. My doctors say its demylenation from an infection. I suspect that the pings are caused by a vasospasm and can be closely related to migraine or silent migraine. The pings are very disturbing and are followed by 5 or 6 days of feeling awful. This is caused by cortical spreading depression I believe Inflammation in the brain can cause these vasospasms.
Most of my conclusions are from studying on my own. The doctors definately don’t understand what all happens in a persons brain.

12. Carolyn - 30 January, 2013

I experienced this brain ping this morning while still in bed only I immediately felt myself spinning like severe vertigo. It lasted about a minute, but still felt weird.

13. Jenn - 26 September, 2013

On a whim I just decided to search about the ‘pings’ I get in my head. I haven’t had one in a while, but I do tend to get them about once every year or two. I think I’ve had them since I was a kid – at least since I was a teenager. I forgot about the warm sensation – but that definitely happens to me too – immediately following the ping.

I had previously mentioned the sensation to friends, etc. but no one else seemed to experience the same thing. I never bothered mentioning it to a doctor since it happens so infrequently. I’ll pay more attention to it next time to see what other sensations come with it. Good to know I’m not alone with it.

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