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I am a 24-year-old male and a hypochondriac. I have been

Hi,I am a 24-year-old male...
Hi,I am a 24-year-old male and a hypochondriac. I have been having on and off headaches for the past week or so solely on the left side of my head (like above my ear, around my left eye, and the top of my jaw). It's sometimes there when I wake up, but it's hard to be 100% certain because I wake up worrying about it and then usually notice it. I feel perfectly fine besides that. I am able to exercise and do everything that I normally would. Rationally, I think the headaches are probably just muscular (my neck has been tight and have been chewing a lot of gum and my jaw is kind of sore) or stress-related (applying to grad school and under a lot of stress). I just can't shake the fear that this could be the time I was actually right about having a terminal illness. My girlfriend and mother all think I don't have a brain tumor and that it's just my hypochondria rearing its head. Do you think it could be a brain tumor?Thank you in advance.
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/20/2017
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5,558
Experience: Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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No. This is not how brain tumors present. Do you have pain when you chew? Do you grind your teeth at night?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I occasionally have pain when I chew. Not sure about grinding teeth, but I did notice that I have been clenching my jaw throughout the day
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Is it normal to have headaches localized on one side though?
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Also, is it true that headaches are usually not an indicator of brain tumors? I read that on NPR

Jaw pain is common in young, otherwise healthy young persons such as yourself. There are several possible causes, but chief among them would be TMJ (temperomandibular joint syndrome) in which the jaw joint gets inflammed from too much activity (eg. chewing, speaking, grinding teeth at night) or from an occlusion problem (non-smooth movement of the joint during mouth opening and closing due to malalignment.) Because the muscles of the temple attach to this joint, TMJ can provoke headache on one side of the head, often radiating forward toward the eye.

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Another frequently overlooked cause is impacted wisdom teeth. This tends to come up in one's twenties or early thirties as the back molars (wisdom teeth) try to emerge in a crowded space in the back of the mouth. On one side they may come out smoothly while on the other they get stuck. This can also cause jaw pain and headaches. A dentist can evaluate you for this as well as for TMJ. This should be your first step in working this up.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for all of the information. It definitely sounds like it could be TMJ. I have had my wisdom teeth taken out.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
My last question is: is it true that headaches are usually not an indicator of brain tumors? I read that on NPR

Yes. TMJ could be the cause then.

Brain tumors do not usually present with unilateral headaches that come and go like this, especially in one's 20s.

Your doctor can do a neurological exam to make sure there are no other neurological findings, but this would be unlikely given what you have written here.

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And NPR is correct in saying that they dont usually present as headaches alone...in the absence of other neurological signs and symptoms.

Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5,558
Experience: Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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