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Brain & Nervous System Disorders Message Board

Brain & Nervous System Disorders Board Index

Hi all just want to warn people that short (10-15 seconds) sharp stabbing pains to the head can be a very significant sign that a brain tumor is present. My 18yo son was having these numerous times a day - and each time we took him to the doctor they would insinuate that perhaps he was getting a migraine or as they mainly come on after any physical activity, exertion headaches. He had suffered with this for some time and then last tuesday got a massive headache from nowhere at 11pm and began throwing up saying his head was going to explode...he could barely walk and so i took him to hospital. By the time we got there (15 minutes) his lips and eyelids and entire face began to swell. They immediately got him a cat scan which revealed a 3cm diametre tumor on his brain with a 12cm diametre cyst overlying it. The pressure on the brain was so much so that they did not think he would make it to the operating room. Thank god he did survive and is making a remarkable recovery. If not for an observant dr that insisted on a cat scan he would not be with us today. My son also had other problems such as vertigo, dizziness and loss of balance - but this was ALWAYS put down to an ear problem. So PLEASE if you experience these 'short sharp pains' to the head - please insist on a catscan or MRI as even though it could be nothing at all - it could also very well save your life!!

I scoured the net many times looking for information on short sharp stabbing pains to head and found numerous people enquiring about the same thing - but with no results, other than 'exertion headaches' hopefully this post may get others to insist on getting a catscan - as this was the major symptom to my sons tumor.

His tumor was a pilocytic astrocytoma, which is relatively benign (can change if not caught) although the tumor was not the immediate risk to his life last week, rather the overlying cyst and pressure on brain was, it could of had potentially fatal consequences if not acted upon so quickly. This tumor generally affects younger children (my son was just unlucky to get it at his age), and if picked up upon early enough can have an excellent cure rate. My boy will now have MRIs regularly (as although most of the tumor has been removed - residual cancer cells are still there) just to make sure it does not get aggresive - if any changes come about he will get hit with radiation and chemo to blast the rest of the tumor away, at present they say has already been thru enough will just watch and see.


I had an MRI about 4 years ago as i was experiencing dizziness and headaches, fortunately it was clear. Since then my symptoms have gotten alot worse, the dizziness is dreadful and I now have the stabbing head pains (which I didnt have back then) Like Sharalee i have many more symptoms but these are the worse two. My GP will not repeat the MRI because I have had one even though it was 4 years ago and things are so bad I cant work anymore. I guess all I can do is hope this is nothing sinister.

Thank goodness your son was caught in time Cindy, and thanks for alerting people to this potential problem,


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