How Do You Determine What Brain Tumor Headaches Feel Like?


Quick Answer

Determine what a brain tumor headache feels like by discussing headache symptoms with a physician, the American Brain Tumor Association recommends. Although a brain tumor can't be diagnosed by a headache's severity or location, certain patterns of headache pain cause doctors to suspect that a tumor may be present.

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Headaches that are more likely to be caused by a brain tumor are those that: are most severe upon waking but improve over the course of the morning; don't respond well to conventional treatment; accompany other neurological symptoms; differ from headaches the patient usually experiences; are exacerbated by movement, the American Brain Tumor Association notes.

A patient diary of specific headache symptoms and patterns can help a physician determine whether to investigate the possibility of a brain tumor. The diary should include a description of the pain, such as throbbing, stabbing, aching, sharp or dull, and its location. The time of day the headaches stop and start and their duration are also important, as are symptoms that occur with the headache, such as vision changes and nausea. Diary entries listing the events or activities that immediately precede the headaches and rating the pain on a 1-to-10 scale can also help the physician pinpoint the cause.

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