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HomeAnswersNeurologybrain tumorIs continuous pressured feeling in the head with headache indicative of brain tumor?

I have vertigo with continuous headaches and pressured feeling in my head. Is it a brain tumor?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Hitesh Kumar

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At August 14, 2021
Reviewed AtAugust 14, 2021

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

For three years, I have been having vertigo and unsteadiness symptoms. I went to see different doctors and ENT specialists who ran many tests and did not find anything, they put this on account of stress and anxiety. I kept having periodical moments where my vertigo and unsteadiness is happening for over two years. I also had some moments where I had some headaches for six years (I put this on account of fatigue time spent on screens, etc.). A week ago, I spent a day in the sun and had a strong headache at night, I took Codeine and Acetaminophen, but the pain continued. The following morning the headache turned into an impression of somebody holding my head, no pain whatsoever but just the feeling that somebody is applying pressure inside my head. With that, I have unsteadiness and vertigo, sometimes nausea, and the feeling of pressure is constant during the whole week, every single minute of every single day. No pain medication relieved it, including Codeine and Tylenol. I am starting to get worried, the internet says it might be a brain tumor. Kindly help me.

Answered by Dr. Hitesh Kumar


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I would like to know some further details about headache and other symptoms:

1) Since when you started to have these headaches? How many years? Did it start only six years ago or used to occur before also?

2) In which part of the head you feel headaches? (You can attach your photo, clicked from a little distance, with hand-kept over part of the head, where you feel headache. Can attach two to three photos from front or sides if headache area is large)

3) What kind of headaches you feel, heaviness, bursting, squeezing, stretching, throbbing, or some other kind?

4) One episode of headache lasts for how long duration (without pain killer tablet)?

5) Do you feel any nausea or vomiting during headache episodes?

6) Is headache associated with any redness in eyes or watering from eyes or nasal blockage?

7) Have you noticed any specific trigger factor or timing for this headache till now?

8) How frequent are these headaches nowadays (before this last one week)? (how many times in a month?)

9) How is the intensity of headaches mild, moderate, or severe?

10) Do you take some medicine (as and when required or regularly) for your headaches? If yes, please tell the name of medications, dosage, and how many times you take it? Also, please tell me other medicines which you are on?

11) How is your vision for distant objects and near objects?

12) Have you undergone CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for headaches or other tests? If yes, please send their reports as an attachment. Also, send other tests which you underwent before.

Answer the following questions about vertigo and unsteadiness:

1) what exactly you feel during such episodes?

2) Are you feeling the rotation of your surroundings?

3) Are you feeling the rotation of the inside head?

4) once stated, one episode lasts for how long?

5) have you any difficulty walking at that time? If yes, please describe it.

6) have you any difficulty in vision (blurred vision, double vision, or blackening in front of eyes) at that time? If yes, please describe it.

7) Does vertigo or unsteadiness happen simultaneously with the headache? or both happen at different timings?

8) How is your sleep routine? Do you get sleepy soon after lying in bed, or it takes a long time? Once got sleepy, do you have frequent awakenings during sleep? Do you feel fresh on awakening from sleep in the morning?

9) How is your usual mood in day-to-day activities? Happy or toward the sad side (thinking about past events) or the worried side (thinking about future things, irritable or something else)?

10) How is your appetite?

I suggest you do MRI Brain with contrast (bilateral inner and middle ear sections), ECG (electrocardiography), two-dimensional echocardiology, CBC (complete blood count), LFT (liver function test), KFT (kidney function test), T3, T4, and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). Get an ophthalmology consultation to look for refraction, IOP (intraocular pressure), or fundus. Please answer the above questions so that I can guide you accordingly.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank You.

So basically, my headaches were constant even before six years, but I started noticing them only from six years, although it was a pain, not a feeling of pressure like which I have for a week now. I would not describe it as pain but more as pressure, like somebody holding my head and squeezing it. This feeling is lasting for a week now straight. As soon as I wake up to the moment I sleep, it is never stopping. I have no redness, no running nose, nothing, and like I said, before this one week, I used to have them a few times a month depending on if I had a hectic and tiring day or not. No specific triggers have been noticed, and the pain (not really a pain, more of pressure, as I said) is mild. My vision is bad. I have keratoconus in both eyes, and I am being followed by a doctor. But according to him, it has nothing to do with them. I have never had an MRI or CT scan of my brain. As I said, I have three different ENT specialists tests (I do not have them now). They put a lens in my eyes and started doing some movements with my head to try and cause vertigo, but nothing has been found. They ran audiometry tests also which was fine. It has been very periodic and has happened every day for three years now. I always get that feeling of lightheadedness and unsteadiness every day. But now it is a little bit worse, and I have that pressure in the skull associated with it ever since I sat in the sun last week. I do not have trouble walking, but I have the feeling like I am losing my balance (in reality, I am not). It just feels like it. I sleep well, and I am in a good mood, except as of now because I am starting to get worried about this. I suspect a brain tumor, and I am kind of depressed because of these thoughts. And as I said, I did a complete heart check (EKG, echocardiography) a month and a half ago (I do a yearly check), and it is fine. Kindly help me.

Answered by Dr. Hitesh Kumar


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

As per your description of pressure overhead, there can be the possibility of it being a tension-type headache. The unsteadiness, as you say, is not really unsteadiness but felt by you. Also, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor did not found anything. Such feelings can coexist in tension-type headaches or may be associated with some depression or anxiety. However, other structural abnormalities must be ruled out by neuroimaging.

I suggest you get MRI brain and MR (magnetic resonance) venography with contrast (including bilateral inner and middle ear sections), CBC, LFT, KFT, T3, T4, TSH, and serum Vitamin B12.

Refractive error related to keratoconus usually causes headaches over the frontal area. I also suggest you consult your ophthalmologist again to check for intraocular pressure and fundus examination (to look for papilledema, which is a sign of increased brain pressure). As your head pressure is not severe intensity, it does not need any pain-relieving analgesics. Depending on the investigative findings, we can decide the next decision about medications for this.

Meanwhile, you can try the following steps:

1) Daily jogging 20 to 30 minutes in the morning.

2) Maintain regularity in sleep, wake, and meal timings.

3) Meditations and yoga daily.

4) Deep breathing exercises daily.

I hope this was helpful. Please get back if you have further queries.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Hitesh Kumar
Dr. Hitesh Kumar


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