A headache is one of the most common medical condition and can occur in almost anybody at any time. A headache or head pain sometimes can be difficult to describe, but some common symptoms include throbbing, squeezing constant, unrelenting, or intermittent pain. The location may be in one part of the face or skull or may be generalized involving the whole head.
Headache may arise spontaneously or may be associated with activity or exercise. It may have an acute onset or it may be chronic in nature with or without episodes of increasing severity. A headache is often associated with nausea & vomiting and sometimes with the blurring of vision.
Any type of headache should not be taken lightly. Mostly, the culprits behind recurring headaches can be a migraine, or serious causes such as a tumor, infection, TB, and hemorrhage. To diagnose such conditions, we need imaging of the brain. CT and MRI examinations are called imaging tests because they take pictures, or images, of the inside of the body.
CT is fast and easily available, however, uses radiations and has inferior images quality of the brain as compared to MRI. An MRI test can be helpful in diagnosing the cause as it creates clear images of the brain with the help of magnetic fields and radio waves, without employing any harmful X-rays.
With the help of magnetic fields images of the brain and spinal cord can be created which will further determine the cause of a headache. The imaging informs doctors about the workings of the brain and the functioning chemicals inside the brain.
You may need a CT scan or an MRI if you have unusual headaches. See your health care provider and request for MRI/CT scan if:
Some neurologists routinely advise imaging with MRI or CT in every patient above 50 yrs with a headache or a recently developed headache in above 40yrs patients.
An MRI brings clarity to the diagnosis and can easily diagnose the underlying medical cause of a headache.
When the MRI scan is done, the computer creates some images of the brain or other body parts which were scanned and then it is copied on a film from where the radiologist or doctor interprets the images. This type of imaging can demonstrate any abnormality or problem with the tissues and fluid inside the brain.
An MRI scanner is a doughnut-shaped machine, with an extension for the patient to lie down. The patient lies on the elongated extension and then he/she is inserted into the inner circle of the machine. This doughnut-shaped part of the machine has a round magnet that emits very strong magnetic fields. These magnetic fields when aligning with the hydrogen protons in the body, they signal the receiver the information generated and then an image is created with the help of the received information. These images can spot even the tiniest changes in the body. Thus an MRI is very helpful in determining the underlying cause of your headache. Mostly, No specific cause of a headache is found, however imaging rules out any serious condition which can be otherwise treated. It can detect tumors, infections, hemorrhage, TB and other problems associated with the brain. Early imaging helps in the early treatment of these serious conditions. It helps immensely by reducing the complications associated with these conditions.
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