It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
You try not to let your mind go there, but sometimes, it just does. You get a crippling headache, and you wonder could it be a brain tumor?
Thankfully, headaches are rarely a sign of brain tumors.
Headaches are rarely caused by a brain tumor. But if you do have a brain tumor, headaches are one of the first symptoms to show up.
So, how do you avoid running to the doctor in a panic every time your head hurts? Heed the symptoms, experts say.
“The brain doesn’t hurt. Brain tumors; however, may increase pressure that stretches pain sensitive structures in the head, such as membranes and blood vessels. This in turn may result in headaches” says Ania Pollack, MD, FACS, FAANS of The Clinical Neuroscience Institute. ;”In addition , brain tumors may disrupt communication pathways in the brain leading to different symptoms.”
As a result, someone with a brain tumor may have one or more of these symptoms:
- Headaches that develop, come more frequently, or come and go
- Steady headache pain that is more severe upon waking in the morning, but it may get better within a few hours
- Persistent, non-migraine headache
- Difficulty speaking or forming words
- Difficulty swallowing
- Facial weakness or numbness
Thankfully, headaches brain tumors are not the most common signs of headaches . In addition, brain tumors themselves are rare. But dont hesitate to see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the signs.
Are Headaches Caused By A Brain Tumour
Headaches are one of the main symptoms of a brain tumour, but of course there can be many reasons for having a headache. Headaches caused by a brain tumour tend to:
- Be severe and persistent
- Often worse in the morning
- Get worse over a number of days
- Give stabbing pains if you do anything that increases the pressure in your head, for example coughing, shouting, bending over or doing exercise.
What Do Brain Tumor Headaches Feel Like
Headaches are a very common ailment that most of the time are not a sign of something more serious. A lack of sleep, loud noise, brightness, even changing weather can cause a headache that, for the most part, can be cured with some rest or over-the-counter medicine. While this is true for the vast majority of headaches, they can sometimes be a symptom of a dangerous underlying problem like a brain tumor.
“Many patients with brain tumors do experience headaches, ranging from mild to severe and unremitting,” says Lindsay Lipinski, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology and a neurosurgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I estimate 50 to 60% of patients with brain tumors at Roswell Park experience headaches at the time of their diagnosis. They occur most often in conjunction with another neurologic problem, like a seizure or speech problem, that led to the diagnosis.”
Recommended Reading: Preventing Brain Freeze
Symptoms That Are An Emergency
- The worst headache you’ve ever had
- A severe headache while pregnant or after giving birth
- A severe headache if you have a compromised immune system due to chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, or another condition
- Sudden severe pain on only one side of your head
- A fever along with a severe headache
- A gut feeling that something is seriously wrong
Diagnosis Of Brain Tumours
- neurological examination such as checking your muscle strength, reflexes, memory and your ability to tell hot from cold on your skin
- eye test the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, tends to bulge a little if a tumour is present at the front of the brain
- CT scan three dimensional x-rays. A dye will be injected or swallowed if you are having a full body scan, so that anything unusual will show more clearly
- magnetic resonance imaging similar to a CT scan, but magnetism is used to create a picture. This test will almost certainly show up any brain tumour
- x-rays and blood tests to test your general health
- angiogram injected dye is x-rayed as it flows through the blood vessels of your brain. This is not done for all types of brain tumours.
Recommended Reading: How To Cancel Brainly Trial
When Is A Headache A Sign Of A Brain Tumor Dana
- Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor
- Hemicrania continua, a one-sided headache that doesn’t go away; Brain tumors; Sharp, searing, one-sided pain that comes on quickly but doesn’t last long is probably a cluster headache, especially.
- The headaches are not caused directly by the tumour itself, as the brain has no pain receptors, but by a build-up of pressure on pain-sensitive blood vessels and nerves within the brain. The build-up of pressure can be due to the tumour pressing on these vessels/nerves or by the tumour blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the.
- Ãber 7 Millionen englische BÃ¼cher. Jetzt versandkostenfrei bestellen
- d of a 3- or 4-year-old. On Dec. 14, 2009, Dr. Nicholas Levine, a neurosurgeon, and his staff were able to remove more than 99% of the tumor
- Headaches. As for how it feels, scientists claim that there is not one definite description of a headache caused by a brain tumor. Patients mostly describe a headache as being worse in the morning. The pain is dull, numb and may be followed by nausea and vomiting; usually, the headache becomes less painful later in the day
Pressure In The Head And Brain Tumors
Although not all brain tumors cause headaches, nearly half of people who’ve had a brain tumor report that they got headaches, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous , and they can occur almost anywhere in the brain, the association explains.
Symptoms of a brain tumor differ depending on the location of the tumor, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons . Headaches and other feelings of increased pressure in the skull, called increased intracranial pressure, can be due to a tumor pressing on nerves or tissue or a backup of fluid around the brain.
Here are red flags that should prompt you to see your doctor:
Don’t Miss: How Do Puzzles Help Your Brain
What Are The Other Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Other common symptoms, which may initially come and go, include one or more of the following:
- Continuing nausea, vomiting;
- Tinnitus or hearing loss;
- Unexplained twitches of the face or limbs
- Appearing to be lost in a deep daydream for a short while
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, especially if progressive and leading to paralysis
- Numbness or weakness in a part of the face, so that the muscles drop slightly
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, resulting in stumbling or lack of co-ordination
- Changes in personality or behaviour
- Impaired memory or mental ability, which may be very subtle to begin with
- Changes in senses, including smell
- Problems with speech, writing or drawing
- Loss of concentration or difficulty in concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
About The Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Symptoms depend on where the tumour is in the brain and how slowly or quickly it grows. They may develop suddenly, or slowly over months or even years.
As a tumour grows, it can press on or grow into nearby areas of the brain. This can cause symptoms because it stops that part of the brain from working normally. Symptoms can also happen because the tumour is increasing the pressure inside the skull.
These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than a brain tumour. But it is important to get them checked by your GP straight away.
Recommended Reading: Can Diabetes Cause Memory Loss
Do Bt Headaches Necessarily Feel Like A Brain Tumor Headache Or Can It Feel Normal
Dr. Stark-Vance: A tension headache, often felt as tightening in the back of the head or neck, is a common symptom in brain tumor patients who have a tumor in the back of the head, or causing pressure on the lateral ventricles, the spinal fluid spaces in the middle of the brain.
The pressure from the tumor seems to transmit to the back of the head and downwards. It is not unusual for such patients to see a chiropractor, thinking they have a neck problem.
What Are Unique Characteristics Of Bt Headaches That Are Different From Regular Headaches
There are no truly unique characteristics, although some patients will have an increase in pain with changes in barometric pressure, during a flight, or with changes in altitude.
Some have a headache when bending forward or coughing. However, absence of these signs isnt unusual either. Some brain tumor patients never have a headache.
You May Like: What Causes Slow Brain Waves
Symptoms Of Tumors In Different Parts Of The Brain Or Spinal Cord
Tumors in different parts of the brain or spinal cord can cause different symptoms. But these symptoms can be caused by any abnormality in that particular location they do not always mean a person has a brain or spinal cord tumor.
- Tumors in the parts of the cerebrum that control movement or sensation can cause weakness or numbness of part of the body, often on just one side.
- Tumors in or near the parts of the cerebrum responsible for language can cause problems with speech or even understanding words.
- Tumors in the front part of the cerebrum can sometimes affect thinking, personality, and language.
- If the tumor is in the cerebellum , a person might have trouble walking; trouble with precise movements of hands, arms, feet, and legs; problems swallowing or synchronizing eye movements; and changes in speech rhythm.
- Tumors in the back part of the cerebrum, or around the pituitary gland, the optic nerve, or certain other cranial nerves can cause vision problems.
- Tumors in or near other cranial nerves might lead to hearing loss , balance problems, weakness of some facial muscles, facial numbness or pain, or trouble swallowing.
- Spinal cord tumors can cause numbness, weakness, or lack of coordination in the arms and/or legs , as well as bladder or bowel problems.
The brain also controls functions of some other organs, including hormone production, so brain tumors can also cause many other symptoms not listed here.
What Do Headaches Caused By Brain Tumors Feel Like
Every patient’s pain experience is unique, but headaches associated with brain tumors tend to be constant and are worse at night or in the early morning. They are often described as dull, “pressure-type” headaches, though some patients also experience sharp or “stabbing” pain. They can be localized to a specific area or generalized. They can be made worse with coughing, sneezing or straining. A headache caused by a tumor may respond to over-the-counter medications early in treatment but may become more resistant to medication over time.
The brain itself does not have any pain receptors, but there are several mechanisms that explain why brain tumors cause headaches. The most basic is that a tumor can raise your intracranial pressure and cause stretching of the durathe covering of the brain and spinal cord. This can be painful, because the dura has sensory nerve endings.
“The skull is basically a sphere with a set amount of tissue inside it. Adding more tissue raises the pressure inside the sphere because the skull cannot expand to accommodate it, says Dr. Lipinski.
Also, tumors sometimes can occur in locations that block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluidthe fluid created in the brain that coats and cushions the brain and spinal cord. The increased fluid can also increase the intracranial pressure, says Dr. Lipinski.
Don’t Miss: How To Unsubscribe From Brainly
What Is A Brain Tumor
Brain tumors are called primary tumors if they started in your brain. Theyâre considered secondary if they started somewhere else in your body and spread to your brain.
Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor Headache
In its early stages, a brain tumor may have no noticeable symptoms. Its only when it grows large enough to put pressure on the brain or nerves in the brain that it can start to cause headaches.
For example, waking up frequently with a headache can be a sign of a brain tumor. Keep in mind, however, that other conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea or a hangover, can also cause morning headaches.
But if you start getting frequent headaches, different kinds of headaches, or if the headaches change in severity, take note. These may indicate a brain tumor is present.
Likewise, if youre not a person who usually gets headaches, but you begin experiencing frequent, painful headaches, see a doctor soon.
Other headache symptoms associated with brain tumors may include:
- headaches that wake you up at night
- headache pain that changes as you change positions
- headache pain that doesnt respond to standard pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen , or ibuprofen
- headaches that last for days or weeks at a time
Because the pain can be quite intense, brain tumor headaches are sometimes confused with migraines. However, a migraine attack can also trigger nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. Brain tumor headaches are usually accompanied by other signs.
You May Like: Do Word Puzzles Help The Brain
Where To Go If You Need Brain Tumor Treatment
If you are diagnosed with a brain tumor, Dr. Ahluwaliasays youll get the best care at a brain tumor center of excellence.
These centers specialize in multidisciplinary treatment forbrain tumors, he explains. You have neurosurgeons who treat patients withbrain tumors every day of the week. You also have radiation oncologists and neuro-oncologistsor medical oncologists who primarily treat patients with brain tumors.
These centers usually offer opportunities to participate in clinical trials, too. So if a tumor has limited treatment options, a brain tumor center can give you access to promising new drugs or immunotherapies that may effectively treat it.
How Long Should Someone Wait Until They See A Doctor About Their Headache
“Remember that the vast majority of headaches are self-resolving and not a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. However, you should contact your doctor if you have a new severe headache or a headache that is different from your normal pattern of headaches,” says Dr. Lipinski. “For instance, headaches that are sudden and very severe are concerning and should be evaluated immediately. Headaches that wake you from sleep, are worse in the morning, progressively worsen and do not improve with over-the-counter medications, are worse with coughing or bending forward, or are associated with any other neurologic symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor.”
The same precautions should be taken by those who have a previous cancer diagnosis. If you are currently in treatment for or are a survivor of any cancer, and you have a new headache that is severe or persistent, you should speak with your cancer doctor right away.
You May Like: Why Does Brain Freeze Occur
How Do I Cope With Brain Tumour Headaches
Below are some suggestions to help manage and treat headache pain that people with brain tumours can experience:
- take the medication prescribed by your doctor;
- tell your doctor straight away if the medication stops working or becomes less effective
- keep a headache diary
Symptoms can change over time. Be sure to tell any your doctor or nurse as soon as possible about any new symptoms or changes in existing symptoms.
Keeping a headache diary
In your headache diary, as well as when you have headaches , it can be useful to record the following for each headache:
- what the pain feels like;e.g. sharp, stabbing, dull, pounding, achy, tingling
- where the pain is located
- whether it moves around or stays in one place
- how you would score the pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable
- how long the headache lasted
- whether it comes and goes, or if its there all the time
- if it was;accompanied by nausea, vomiting, changes in vision, or any other symptoms
- if it seemed to happen in relation to something else;
- if pain medicine helped, if so, how much?
- if there was anything else that made the pain better or worse
Are migraines a symptom of a brain tumour?
There are many different types of headache. Migraines are one type.
People who get migraines, or other recurrent headaches, often worry that they may have a brain tumour.
Keep a headache diary to take to your doctors to help with the diagnosis.
Causes Of Brain Tumors
A tumor occurs when the DNA of a healthy cell changes or mutates in a way that allows the cell to grow rapidly. A brain tumor refers to a mass of abnormal cells that can develop in different areas of the brain.
Most brain tumors form without a known cause. However, certain changes in a cells DNA affect the genes that control cellular growth and division.
A person can inherit gene changes that lead to cancer. Genetic changes can also result from long-term exposure to substances that damage DNA, such as tobacco smoke and radiation.
A brain tumor may be benign or malignant .
Both types of brain tumor may increase the pressure inside the skull, causing headaches, fatigue, and even coma. Without treatment, a brain tumor can lead to long lasting brain damage.
Don’t Miss: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze