A headache that wakes you during the night might be a serious warning

A headache that wakes you during the night might be a serious warning

When my friend April was diagnosed with a brain tumor last month, we were all shocked, of course. It turned out her doctor was, too. But after reviewing her medical records, he admitted he’d missed an important indicator: April had told him she was frequently waking up during the night with a headache. That is – the headaches were actually waking her up.

This is a key symptom that needs to be taken quite seriously. Tension may cause people to wake with a headache, but if this occurs frequently the problem is probably a more severe health issue and needs to be checked out.

According to the Medline Plus medical encyclopedia, you should see your doctor if:

  • Headaches wake you from sleep
  • Headaches are worse in the morning
  • A headache lasts more than a few days
  • You have frequent headaches with no known cause
  • A history of headaches changes pattern or intensity

Medline Plus also suggests that you keep a headache diary so you can be as specific as possible with your doctor. Include details such as the location of the headache (isolated or all over), they way it feels (throbbing, isolated pressure, etc.), other symptoms that may accompany headaches, duration of headaches, etc.

As for April, she came through in surgery in perfect condition, the tumor was benign, and the surgical team at Johns Hopkins was able to remove all of it. Of course, after having brain surgery she still has a bit of a headache, but they assured her that’s to be expected.