Types Of Headache

Rare Types Of Headaches

It is not uncommon to find that certain infections of the brain may lead to headaches. However, these infections happen quite rarely. These may be due to brain aneurysm, tumor, stroke or Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA).

Brain aneurysm/cerebral aneurysm
Usually, an aneurysm is asymptomatic and is present from birth itself. In this case, there is a weakness within the artery wall itself which may lead to it being ballooned out, thus deteriorating gradually. These aneurysms are detected in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans as well as in Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) scans.

As already mentioned above, the aneurysm is usually asymptomatic. But if at all it ruptures due to weakening, then it may leak blood into the brain creating severe headaches and life-threatening neurological conditions. Ruptured or leaking aneurysm can also lead to what are known as ‘thunderclap headaches’.

The aneurysm might rupture or start leaking during physical activity, even during intercourse. So any headache related to physical activity must immediately be brought to the notice of a neurologist.

In case, an aneurysm bursts, surgery is the only means of treatment and that should also be undertaken at the earliest.

A tumor usually gives signals as to its own presence. Although classified as a rare kind of headache, a person complaining of a constantly increasing pain should be investigated for a tumor. A tumor is characterized by not only a constantly, increasing pain but also a constantly character-changing pain.

It is absolutely not necessary that a patient will start experiencing headaches at the onset of the tumor itself. A headache might be quite a late occurrence in the process of tumor development. This entirely depends upon the location of the tumor. Sometimes, other neurological symptoms might also accompany headaches.

Also it is significant to note that any kind of exertional activity, if associated with pain, should be promptly investigated as it might signal a tumor.

Stroke/ Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA)
If an old person in his 50s or 60s develops sudden migraine-like symptoms, it may indicate a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). A TIA might lead to a stroke somewhere later in life. Although a headache might not be a symptom, yet it is usually one of the symptoms in at least 25 – 30 % of the patients.

The migraine-like symptoms associated with TIA are somewhat different. The pain is not as severe as a migraine attack. Also there is no nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to either noise, smell or light.

But what needs to be noted here is that the person might not have had any migraine-like symptoms up till then, but still he/she develops them in old age. This is to be promptly investigated because it might signal TIA, leading to a stroke which might further lead to a paralysis attack.

A TIA occurs because of an affected carotid artery. The symptoms are experienced in that side of the body which has the affected carotid.

In the case of a TIA, a thorough investigation is necessary. It may be done with the help of non-invasive tests like ultrasounds. Once a TIA is confirmed, medications which retard clumping of platelets are recommended. In some cases, surgery might also be essential.