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Less Common Causes of Headaches, Migraines


I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

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Not all headaches are hangover headaches, sinus headaches or regular headaches.  Some may be caused by other more serious medical problems.  Headaches are often a first symptom of a potential life threatening condition. 

Probably the first concern of a patient with recurring headaches is thinking they may have a brain tumor.  It is a scary thought and if you have gone through most of your life without having headaches it is the first disease that pops into your mind.

There is a concern if you have a change in your headache patterns or did not experience headaches previously.  A brain tumor headache often is just a dull ache.  Patients do not report feeling sharp or knifelike pains but rather a constant dull ache.

This form of headache will often occur in people older than 40 and becomes more intense if a person is coughing or sneezing.  Exertion raises the fluid pressure in the brain causing the more intense pain. 

Patients with a brain tumor may also have symptoms of blurred vision, tiredness, feeling faint or dizzy or have a personality change.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms with your headache, you should contact a doctor immediately.  A doctor may order a CT scan or an MRI to find any abnormal growths or lesions in the brain.  Remember, brain tumors are a rare cause of a headache.

Headache is another symptom of an impending problem with high blood pressure.  A headache caused by high blood pressure will be located at the back of the head and is usually there when you wake up in the morning.  It often is a throbbing pain that worsens as you go about your daily routine. 

Blood pressure is measure with two numbers, the systolic pressure is the top number and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure.  A blood pressure considered normal is 120 over 80.  If blood pressure goes higher, a diagnosis of hypertension is the result.  Treatment for hypertension or high blood pressure is normally a change in diet, losing weight, exercising more and taking a prescribed medication. 

Eye problems can be a rare cause of headaches and migraines.  If your eyes are causing the headache the pain is normally just above the eyes.  Usually the headache will form in the afternoon because of using your eyes throughout the day.  You may be staring at a computer screen at work, studying or reading long hours, or people who drive many hours a day.

The pain is usually a feeling of pressure around the eyes.  Anyone experiencing problems with this pain should see an eye doctor.  They may want to test you for increased intraocular pressure, which could point to glaucoma.

You may also have had a change in your eyesight signaling a need for glasses or a new prescription.  Other inflammations of the eye can result in eye and head pain including optic neuritis.  Eye problems or blurry vision may also signal the onset of a migraine.

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