Headache as the Key Symptom of Brain Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is a bulging or ballooning of the blood vessel due to the thinning of the wall. Patients often present with severe Headache as the Key symptom of Brain Aneurysm, among many others. An aneurysm can leak, rupture, or enlarge, worsening the symptoms respectively, and might become a dangerous situation for the patient.

The character of pain

The Headache is almost always sudden in onset and severe in intensity. Most people call Headache due to an Aneurysm as the “Worst Headache” of their life.


Symptoms depend upon the status of the Aneurysm, either it is ruptured or unruptured, leaking or not.

Ruptured Aneurysm:

Headache sudden in onset is the key symptom of a ruptured aneurysm:

  • Severe pain like a Thunderclap Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision and photophobia
  • Loss of consciousness and a state of confusion
  • Seizures
  • Neck stiffness

Unruptured Aneurysm:

If the aneurysm has not ruptured, it may exist without any symptoms. Therefore if it is large in size and presses on surrounding nerves and brain tissues this might cause the following symptoms:

  • Vision changes or diplopia
  • Tingling and numbness on one side of the face
  • Headache on one side of the head
  • Pain behind one eye that can be mild to severe in intensity

Leaked Aneurysm:

Severe Rupture is often followed by a leaking aneurysm, the only Symptom experienced is:

  • Sudden onset of a severe, debilitating headache.


An aneurysm generally develops in the form of a dilation where the vessel wall has become too thin and lost its elasticity. There are a number of factors that can lead towards weakness of the arterial wall thus, increasing the risk for a brain aneurysm or worse an aneurysm rupture to occur. These factors and conditions are:

  • Coarctation of Aorta
  • Excessive Exercise
  • Severe straining
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Marfan’s syndrome
  • Arteriovenous Malformations
  • Polycystic kidney disease that can cause High blood pressure
  • Post-Traumatic Headache is often due to a Brain Aneurysm.
  • Inflammation and infection can also cause thinning of Arterial walls leading to the formation of an Aneurysm.

Complications that can Develop

  • A large aneurysm can rupture if the pressure becomes too high
  • Re-bleeding of a previously ruptured aneurysm can take place
  • Vasospasm can occur in response to aneurysm rupture leading towards a state of ischemic shock and eventually brain death
  • Hydrocephalus in case of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for the development of an Aneurysm are:

  • High Blood pressure
  • Old age
  • Family history of Aneurysms
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Use of recreational Drugs


Severe, sudden Headache as the key symptom of Brain Aneurysm may form a basis for the diagnosis of the condition. However, confirmation is done on the basis of a CT Scan and an MRI of the brain which can also tell the state of the aneurysm and how much has it progressed making a foundation for the mode of treatment required.


The treatment entirely depends upon the status of the Aneurysm. However, some of the options are:

  • An Analgesic for headache
  • Surgical clipping of the aneurysm by using a metal clip
  • Flow diversion that includes tubular stent-like implants that are used to divert the blood flow away from the Aneurysm.
  • Endovascular coiling is a similar technique in which a catheter is inserted through a blood vessel elsewhere in the body that carries a coiled tube that lodges at the Aneurysm and blocks the blood flow from the artery.
  • In the case of a ruptured Aneurysm, surgery has to be performed to clear all the blood and debris.

Home Remedies

  • Eat Healthily
  • Maintain blood pressure within normal limits by limiting the use of salt in the food
  • Avoid exertion in case of an aneurysm
  • Avoid smoking
  • Stop the use of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Do exercises for a fit and healthy body

When to Consult the Doctor?

If you develop a sudden headache that is severe in intensity and is accompanied by other symptoms such as visual and speech problems you should consult the doctor as soon as possible.


Does every aneurysm present with a Headache?

Although we know Headache as a key symptom of Aneurysm, but only a ruptured or leaking aneurysm causes headaches.

Does an Unruptured Aneurysm cause headaches?

Sometimes a large-sized unruptured aneurysm might also compress a nerve or surrounding brain tissue that can cause a severe headache.

How do I know if my Headache is due to an Aneurysm or not?

If you have similar symptoms such as a headache due to Aneurysm you should get an MRI or a CT Scan done to confirm the diagnosis.