We all suffer from headaches occasionally. Some are caused by the weather, whereas others are the result of the morning after the night before and totally self inflicted. But when is a bad headache the sign of a brain tumor and how can you tell the difference between a normal headache and brain tumour headaches?
Most headaches are not serious and with the aid of some over the counter pain killers you will soon be as right as rain. However, some headaches are persistent or they appear to get worse as time goes on, and when this happens, it is not uncommon for us to start worrying that it is not a normal headache, but the symptom of something far more deadly.
What are “Brain Tumor” headaches?
Brain tumor headaches are caused by pressure on the brain. There is not much room in your skull and if you have a brain tumour taking up excess room inside your cranial cavity, there is likely to be an increased amount of pressure in there, which is what causes the characteristic pain of a headache.
What do brain tumor headaches feel like?
Brain tumor headaches are usually described as a throbbing ache that slowly increases in severity over time and the pressure inside the cranial cavity increases. Lying down in a dark room will not provide relief from a headache caused by a brain tumour and it is possible that lying down will actually increase the pain.
What are the symptoms?
Headaches are not the only symptom of a brain tumor: other symptoms of a brain tumor include seizures, sudden changes in vision or hearing loss, numbness in the extremities, or a decline in mental function. However, headaches are very likely to occur as the tumour grows in mass and any headache severe enough to wake you from sleep is something that warrants further investigation.
What are the symptoms of brain tumor headaches in children?
A classic sign of a brain tumor in children is a headache present upon the child first waking up in the morning, but which then disappears after a few hours. A child with a brain tumor might also have headaches that worsen when they exercise or start coughing. They might also complain of headaches severe enough to wake them up at night, causing vomiting or confusion.
Headaches are not the only symptom of a brain tumor, so be aware of other symptoms in children, including seizures, difficulties concentrating, speech or visual problems, a loss of movement in the legs or arms, weakness or loss of balance, and changes in personality.
However, it is worth remembering that brain tumours are very rare in adults and children. In the vast majority of cases, persistent headaches are not the result of a brain tumour and are more likely to be caused by other minor conditions such as allergies or poor eyesight, but if you are concerned about the severity or frequency of your headaches, always seek medical advice to rule out the possibility of a serious underlying health problem