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Yuuricchin: Left with head and back pressure from anxiety?


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Hello, everyone! I am new to this forum, but I have been reading lots and lots of different posts since I made this account. I got accustomed to many of the withdrawal symptoms you keep mentioning, but I still can't get my head around one thing. Yet for you to be able to understand my problem better, I have to write a short backstory of my life with anxiety.


So I am 18 years old now. I guess I was always an anxious kid, always thinking way too much for my own good. I can say I had OCD-like symptoms since I was a child. I tend to be extremely perfectionist, but that didn't cause so much anxiety ever. In the summer of 2014, after a long period of school and family stress, I began getting small anxiety attacks(?). After those small attacks I finally got a really big one which ended with me in a psychologist cabinet. I found out I had GAD since a long time ago (though it never intruded with my life and I never remember feeling like this) and also possible OCD. After reading about both of these conditions, I believe they describe what I've been experiencing very well, yet I can never be sure that's what I really have. I continued having immense anxiety throughout the whole year, and only lately got rid of most of it. 


For me, anxiety manifested really strangely compared to other people, so that's why I'm not sure even to this day that this is what I really have. I get a lot of pressure in the back of my head and on the back of my shoulders, sometimes this tense feeling getting to my upper arms too. It feels a little like tingling, a little like cold and hot flashes.. I really have no idea what to describe it. It's just that it's a pressure that wouldn't let me go. As I am overwhelmed by this pressure, I can't really notice any other symptoms of anxiety. Probably my heart is beating faster than regular, but that's not what really gets to me, you know? It's just this pressure... I just hate feeling so tense for NO reason. I remember getting anxiety spikes when my OCD was really bad when it all began, in 2014. That's when this feeling probably had a reason to be happening, the reason being my thoughts. But now i am left with feeling tense for no reason. I just start feeling like this suddenly.


I went to different psychologists and psychiatrists and ended up taking 10mg of Cipralex at night daily for 6 months. I don't ever remember feeling better on them, I just remember crying my eyes out, feeling hopeless, depressed, with no meaning, empty, emotionless, like there was a void formed inside of my chest, basically my life was all grey. But that's how I was before taking Cipralex too, after so many months of 24/7 anxiety. I gave up on all my hobbies, like drawing which made me feel alive and cry of happiness before. I also couldn't feel anything while listening to music so I quit doing that too. I felt like I completely lost myself.

I quit taking Cipralex in the process of 2 weeks by taking smaller doses of it and after some time most of my emotions came back and I thought I was finally going to be better. 


Which brings me here. My only problem left, I guess, is this strange pressure-like feeling on my back. It tortured me before and it tortures me now too, though it's smaller in comparison to the first year I got it. But I just can't get rid of it. I wake up with it, sometimes I go to sleep with it too. I just can't relax. I keep imagining myself without it on my back and I feel so free, but that's only in my mind because the reality is different. I also feel like this weird feeling is causing my lack of motivation, ambition and overall feelings. I feel like I could be so much more productive and motivated if I could only break free from it. Also, I feel that because of this, my appetite is also suffering. I have to force myself to eat a normal number of meals per day and despite being skinny from the start, I lost a lot of weight during all of this. What if I'm never going to feel the same as before? Normal people don't feel this pressure on their back all the time. They can sleep peacefully without waking up with it the next day. I just hate it so much. 


I just wish I could return to how I once was. Do you think this pressure that I'm left with is part of the withdrawal symptoms? Is my brain still trying to work things out and get back to how it once was before all this anxious mess began? Can I take anything for this? I tried taking GABA, Calcium and Magnesium for a long time but it doesn't really make it go away.


I hope my post isn't that messy and I'm sorry for my English. I hope you can help me. Any of your experiences with this type of feeling are very well welcomed. ^^


BTW - just to be clear - My big anxiety began in summer of 2014, in Nov 2014 I started taking cipralex, I quit in April of 2015.

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I'm 5 months off my serotonin meds (mirtazapine and escitalopram) and 2 months off my gaba meds (zolpidem and lorazepam), and I've got the same issue.  Muscle tension in my neck, face, forehead, and most disturbingly, chest.  I signed up for weekly massages hoping that will help eventually.  Also supplementing with O-3 fish oil, magnesium citrate, inositol, niacinimide, NAG, and glycine.

3/9/15 - Mirtazapine to 30 mg.

3/16/15 - Reduced Mirtazapine to 15 mg.  Four days later withdrawal symptoms began.

4/1/15 - Resumed Mirtazapine 30 mg.  Insomnia and anxiety problems continued.  Given Ambien and 0.5 mg Lorazepam to take as needed.

4/2/15 - Reduced Mirtazapine to 26.75 mg.  Again, four days later withdrawal symptoms began.

4/7/15 - Resumed Mirtazapine 30 mg.  Insomnia and anxiety problems continue to this day.

4/14/15 - New PDoc reduced Mirtazapine to 15 mg.  Began 20mg Citalopram, Zolpidem 10 mg, and 2.0 mg Lorazepam daily.

4/16/15 - Increased Citalopram to 40 mg.  Reduced Lorazepam to PRN.  Switched to Zolpidem CR 12.5 mg.

5/11/15 - Reduced Citalopram to 20 mg.  Was told to take Lorazepam 0.5 mg nightly along with Mirtazapine 15 mg and Zolpidem CR 12.5 mg.

5/19/15 - Reduced Citalopram to 10 mg.  Still taking Lorazepam 0.5 mg, Mirtazapine 15 mg, and Zolpidem CR 12.5 mg.

8/17/15 - Lorazepam 0.5 mg &  Zolpidem CR 12.5 mg for sleep.

8/27/15 - Lorazepam 0.375 mg & Zolpidem CR 12.5 mg.  Supplementing with 5-HTP, taurine, theanine, deplin.

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Welcome Yuuricchin,

Thank you for joining and sharing your story with us, I'm sorry you are still having this troubling symptom.


Because you were experiencing this before taking Cipralex, I doubt that its a withdrawal symptom. Although if you are having some withdrawal effects from stopping Cipralex, that could be making it worse.


It sounds to me like muscle tension, but I'm not a doctor, so it could be something else. Is this pain/sensation worse in the morning right after you wake up, then improves during the day? Does it get worse or better with physical activity?


My advice would be to keep looking for therapeutic/medical help, but focus on the physical pain aspect when you talk to a doctor. This may just be muscle tension from anxiety, but there might be a physical cause for the pain. Have you ever had any kind of x-ray or scan to find out if something physical might be causing it? Perhaps ask your doctor for some tests.


Some things to try are yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture, exercise, warm epsom salt baths, stretching, massage. If you can find something which helps you to relax, the pain might go away.


What kind of magnesium are you using? Magnesium is usually very calming for the muscles, but you have to take the right kind.


Mag Citrate and Mag Glycinate are two good ones, taken alone, not with calcium. Look through out topic for more information:   Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker


Others may have some ideas, do stay in touch and let us know how it goes.




Edited to add:  A couple more things I thought of. Studies have shown the high doses of inositol can reduce the symptoms of OCD, you may want to google that for more information. Talk therapy and counseling are healthier than using drugs for managing anxiety.

Edited by Petunia

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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Thank you so much to both of you for answering! With so many people on this forum, I doubted my thread was going to be answered so fast!


Petunia, thank you for your advice. Yes, I had this weird pressure on my back when the anxiety started. In fact that was the only thing that made me finally realize something was wrong. Now I can look back and see that I was dealing with GAD for some time then, but when I had that one big anxiety attack and all this pressure and nausea and cold/hot flashes came, I knew it. Most people don't report feeling this weird sensation, that's why I doubted it was from anxiety for a long time. I don't know if it is real muscle tension, I really have no idea how to even describe it. I just know it is uncomfortable and takes the life out of me.


So I guess this is not a withdrawal symptom? I may still be anxious without wanting to acknowledge that. 


I also have one more question. Is my lack of motivation and pleasure in doing things I once used to love doing, normal? Am I depressed? Or is it just a withdrawal symptom? I have no idea, really. After that first spike in the summer of 2014 I continued to feel anxious almost 24/7, but I had short moments/I saw they're called windows, where my anxiety would simply vanish and I'd feel alive and motivated again. But I haven't felt that in a really really long time so I started to worry. And my ranting may sound stupid but yeah, that's me, worrying all the time, I guess.


Thank you both for your help again! I'll follow your advice and try getting some Magnesium without Calcium and Omega 3. 

I hope you have a nice day! ^ ^

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I'm 5 months off my serotonin meds (mirtazapine and escitalopram) and 2 months off my gaba meds (zolpidem and lorazepam), and I've got the same issue.  Muscle tension in my neck, face, forehead, and most disturbingly, chest.  I signed up for weekly massages hoping that will help eventually.  Also supplementing with O-3 fish oil, magnesium citrate, inositol, niacinimide, NAG, and glycine.

I have the same kind of symptoms in the same places except for my face. How long have you been supplementing with fish oil? I haven't tried that yet. Do you find that it helps?

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