An important and worrying question for most people who experience chronic headaches is: “Is the headache I am currently having due to a brain tumor?”
Diagnosis of brain tumor headaches
Most brain tumors are metastases of tumors of other organs of the body, ie the primary tumor is in another organ and due to blood flow, etc. and progresses to the brain and affects it as well.
Most headaches experienced by people around the world are unrelated to brain tumors and do not matter.
In most cases, there are other symptoms that make you and your doctor suspect a brain tumor.
The following are the characteristics of secondary headaches due to brain tumors
When does a tumor cause a headache?
Most symptoms of brain tumors occur when the tumor is enlarged and can put pressure on the tissues and nerves inside the skull. In other words, most brain tumors are asymptomatic in the early stages. The pressure of the tumor growing on the nerves and other tissues of the brain that receive the pain can be felt as a headache.
Characteristics of brain tumor headaches
- These types of headaches get worse in the morning after waking up:
In other words, there are headaches that are more severe when you wake up.
Other causes of morning headaches include:
- Drinking alcohol the night before
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
If your morning headaches occur frequently, it is best to be examined by a neurologist.
- Headaches that wake you up at night:
Remember, migraine and tension headaches cannot wake you up after you fall asleep. If the headache causes you to wake up frequently, it is best to be examined by a neurologist.
- Changing pain by changing position:
Headaches caused by brain tumors change in severity as the position of the head and neck changes.
- No response to treatment and no pain relief despite the use of common analgesics:
Headaches associated with brain tumors, despite the use of common headache medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, etc., often do not respond well to these medications.
- Significant weight loss:
Do not delay consulting a neurologist if you have severe, resistant headaches associated with significant weight loss.
- Visual disorders:
Sudden loss of vision can be a symptom of a brain tumor. The effect of tumor compression as well as increased intracranial pressure can cause some vision problems such as loss of visual acuity and blurred vision.
- Speech disorders:
Loss of vocabulary or loss of speech that occurs suddenly in a person with long-term headaches can be due to a brain tumor.
- Sudden loss or complete loss of hearing in a person who has not previously had a hearing loss.
Forty to sixty percent of all brain tumors are associated with seizures, the occurrence of seizures is usually a factor that indicates a good prognosis of the tumor (brain meningioma are tumors that are usually associated with seizures and have a very good prognosis
- Weakness and numbness in one half of the body or face
- Impaired balance
- Behavioral, mood and personality changes:
Tumors that affect the frontal lobe of the brain in any form can cause personality changes, for example, a person who is calm recently experiences periods of anger and nervousness.
The final word
In general, people with brain tumors experience persistent headaches that wake them up, especially at night, or are aggravated by waking up in the morning.
The quality of the pain is often mild and vague, but sometimes sharp and tingling
Many of the symptoms listed above can also be present in strokes, so it is the job of an experienced neurologist to differentiate them by examining and sometimes using a CT scan or MRI.