Tumoral headache

Headache disorder (disorder),Daily headache (disorder),Muscle contraction headache, Muscular headache (disorder),Low pressure headache (disorder),Sick headache (disorder),Menopausal headache (disorder),New daily persistent headache (disorder),Headache,


This type of pain occurs during the night or early in the morning. The headache can be an early or late symptom of a brain tumor, depending from the location of the tumor.

As the tumor grows

  • The bouts of pain become prolonged and more constant.
  • Headaches are felt in the area of the head that is affected by the tumor.

The distribution of pain depends on the position of the tumor in the brain.

This pain is usually accompanied by:

  • Edema (swelling) of the optic nerve.
  • Vomiting.
  • Mental Confusion, at times with convulsive episodes.
  • Drastic changes in pulse or breathing.

Neurological symptoms

Most brain tumors are accompanied by neurological symptoms such as:

  • Seizures
  • Personality change or weakness
  • But the headache can be the only symptom or the initial symptom as well

A constant, progressively increasing pain or change in the character of headache may alert the physician.

Any type of exertional headache that develops after running, coughing, bowel movement should be investigated to make sure there is no tumor in the brain. Diagnosis is set via an MRI or a CT-scan.

Common features of headaches in patients

Below are some of the common features of headaches in patients with brain tumors:

  • Steady pain that is worse upon waking in the morning and gets better within a few hours.
  • Persistent, non-migraine headache.
  • May be accompanied by vomiting.
  • May or may not be throbbing, depending on the location of the tumor.
  • May worsen with coughing, exercise, or a change in body position.
  • Does not usually respond to the usual headache remedies.
  • May be associated with new neurological problems.

Incidence: About 50 percent of brain tumor patients experience headaches related to their tumor.

Cause: Because the brain has no pain receptors, brain tumors themselves do not cause headache pain.
Headaches are actually the result of pressure caused by the tumor and/or tumor-related fluid buildup on pain-sensitive blood vessels and nerves within the brain.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 10 Jan 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi