with a family medical history of migraines will usually be diagnosed
by his doctor based on his medical history as well as a routine
medical examination. However, if the headaches are abnormal,
sudden or severe, the doctor might suggest a variety of tests in
order to rule out some other feasible culprits. A few of the
- Computerized Tomography. This is an imaging procedure
which uses computer-directed x-rays.These x-rays provide
a cross-section view of the patient's brain. The CT helps
the doctor diagnose a possible tumor, infection, or other problems
that could be causing headaches.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This procedure uses radio
waves plus a powerful magnet in order to produce a cross-sectional
view of the patient's brain. This image is quite detailed
and helps the doctor diagnose tumors, aneurysms, strokes, neurological
diseases, plus other brain abnormalities. The MRI can also
examine the patient's blood vessels supplying the brain.
Tap. When a doctor suspects meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage
or other underlying condition as the cause of the headaches, he
might suggest a spinal tap. This is a procedure in which
the medical staff inserts a thin needle between two vertebrae
in the patient's lower back in order to extract some spinal fluid
for lab analysis. The procedure takes around half an hour.
instances, a person's effort to control his pain causes problems. For instance, drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin could cause
abdominal pain, ulcers and bleeding, especially when large doses
are taken, or when it's taken for a long time. Also, if the
person takes headache medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter)
for more than a few times a week, or takes an excessive amount,
he could be setting himself up for something called rebound headaches. These occur when the medicines stop relieving pain and eventually
even start causing headaches themselves. The person then uses
more pain medication, which aggravates the problem, and creates
a vicious cycle.
complication you should be aware of can potentially be life-threatening. It is a drug interaction known as serotonin syndrome. Serotonin
syndrome sometimes occurs if a patient is taking migraine medication
known as triptans. Some triptans include zolmitriptan (Zomig)
and sumatriptan (Imitrex).Others are antidepressants such as selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin, or norepinephrine
reuptake inhibitors. Some of the brand names to watch for
include Zoloft, Pavil, Prozac, Effexor and Cymbalta. Serotonin
syndrome is extremely rare, but it is something to consider as you
discuss medication options with your doctor.
are six questions that a doctor might ask the patient to determine
if headaches are migraines are regular tension headaches. 1)
Does the patient experience nausea in conjunction with the headaches?
2) Does he experience sensitivity to light? 3) Does he experience
sensitivity to sound? 4) Does physical activity make the headache
worse? 5) Is the headache restricted to one side of
the head? 6) Is the pain a pounding /throbbing pain? A
"yes" answer to several of these questions often indicates