The Connection Between a Brain Tumor and Headaches


Although they’re incredibly common, brain tumors are still considered a puzzling and often frightening diagnosis. They can arise out of nowhere and cause all sorts of symptoms, including alarming headaches.

But what exactly is the link between a brain tumor and headaches? Brain tumor headaches can be strange and intense.

In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly can happen when you have a brain tumor and why headaches might be part of that.

Link Between Brain Tumor and Headaches

Headache is the most common symptom of a primary or metastatic tumor in the brain. Primary brain tumors, which originate in the brain itself, typically cause more severe and prolonged headaches than brain metastases. Brain metastases are tumors that originate from cancers elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain.

Brain tumors can cause headaches in a variety of ways. Intracranial pressure due to tumor growth can cause headaches, which are worse in the morning and improve through the day with activity. Direct irritation of brain structures may cause headaches as well, especially those located near the tumor. Additionally, increased pressure on the veins that drain the brain can cause headaches and other symptoms of venous sinus thrombosis.

It is important to note that headaches from brain tumors are often severe and persistent. It can be accompanied by other brain tumor symptoms, such as:

  • nausea
  • vision changes
  • cognitive deficits

Expected Types of Headaches Due to Tumors

Expected types of headaches due to tumors include tension and migraines but can extend further. Tumors can cause headaches in two ways, by their physical presence or the compression of the structures in the brain or surrounding the brain. A person suffering from a brain tumor and associated headaches may initially describe the feeling as below, depending on the location of the tumor:

  • dull or sharp pain
  • heaviness or pressure in the head
  • a sensation of hat tightness

In either situation, the resulting headache can be severe and unrelenting, which can cause persistent pain. If a person is experiencing headaches for an extended period and traditional treatments aren’t helping, it may be a sign of a brain tumor.

Diagnosing Head Tumors and Associated Headaches

To diagnose a brain tumor, a doctor will likely order an MRI or CT scan to detect any suspicious growths on the brain. Depending on the scan results, further diagnostic tests such as lumbar puncture and blood tests might be ordered to support a tentative diagnosis. While the diagnosis of a brain tumor is serious and can be frightening, learning more about brain tumor diagnosis, early detection, and treatment can greatly improve a person’s medical outlook and quality of life.

Consult a Health Professional If You Suspect Brain Tumor Headaches

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells and can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as brain tumor headaches. It’s not uncommon for them to occur in tandem, and that’s why if you’re experiencing unexplained headaches, it’s critical to consult a doctor immediately. All brain tumors should be thoroughly diagnosed, as they can further complicate health issues if not treated.

Don’t delay. Speak with your doctor today!

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