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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What Does a Brain Tumor Headache Feel Like?

Headaches can be caused due to multiple reasons but sometimes if it is prolonged or is more painful than normal, then it could be a symptom that indicates a brain tumor.

Most brain tumors usually originate from some part of the body where the tumor developed is malignant (or benign) and metastatic in nature. That means that in one part of the body they start to grow and then spread into the brain.

However, even if it is rare, the tumor can come from the brain itself. The brain tumor is called the main brain tumor in this case. It is almost important to note that the headaches are usually not a cause for concern – brain tumors will give you headaches, but brain tumors are not all causing headaches.

So until your doctor confirms your condition there is no reason to be worried.

This article will help you to distinguish between a standard headache and brain tumor headache caused by brain tumors and give you more clarity before taking further steps.

Symptoms of Brain Tumor Headache

In the early stages, when the tumor is small and growing there may be no noticeable symptoms.

However, as it gets larger, it starts to apply pressure on important brain neurons and blood vessels.

The tumor can also block the normal flow of the cerebrospinal that coats and cushions the brain and spinal cord. As a result, it increases the fluid pressure in one part of the brain which in turn increases the intracranial pressure.

Most importantly, it applies pressure to the dura mater or the outer covering of the brain and causes intense pain by damaging the sensory nerve endings.

Lastly, some tumors are also capable of releasing inflammatory proteins (cytokines) that may contribute to the pain.


symptoms, Credit: Pixabay

Here’s when the complications start and they start to cause symptoms.

They include:

●     Severe headaches, most people describe it as a stabbing or pressure pain.

●     Waking up with a headache

●     Frequent and painful headaches

●     Heaviness in the head

●     Continuous change in the type of headache (different feeling of pain or pressure)

●     When the headache wakes you up at night

●     Headaches that make you restless

●     Headaches that do not respond to medications like aspirin and ibuprofen

●     Long-lasting headaches (for days or weeks)

Note that although these signs are prominent symptoms of a brain tumor, there could be other possible causes. This is why it is important for one to confirm it with a doctor.

There are also other forms of head and neck tumors that cause headaches as a symptom. They include:

  1. Giant cell tumor

  2. Glomus tumor

  3. Warthin tumor

  4. Klatskin tumor


Accompanying symptoms, Credit: Pixabay

Accompanying Symptoms of Brain Tumor Headache

To further help diagnose a brain tumor, there are other symptoms that play an important role in physical diagnosis. They include:

●     Sudden weight loss

●     Vision problems: double vision, blurry vision, or a loss of vision

●     Dizziness

●     Seizures

●     Speaking problems

●     Other neurological problems

●     Hearing loss

●     weakness or numbness that gradually worsens on one side of the body

●     Behavioral changes

●     Stroke

Statistics: A Brain Tumor Report

According to the World Health Organization, 50–75% of adults aged 18–65 years worldwide reported having at least one headache in 2015. In addition, up to 4% of the world’s adult population suffers from chronic headache disorder.

However, in comparison to such high numbers, only about 330,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumor cancer annually.

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