Which Scan Is Best for Headaches? While headache has become a common phenomenon today, and while diagnostic imaging is enhancing the scope of medical care, everyone wants to know which scan is best for headaches. Well, first and foremost, you must note that all headaches cannot get diagnosed.
If you have a migraine or a headache that occurs because of tension, heavy extortion, and tiredness, no scan can help diagnose the cause. It is because there are no structural defects or internal diseases in this case!
But, if doctors predict that your headache is a secondary one, where there might be an internal abnormality, they may ask for a scan. Which scan they recommend depends largely on your other symptoms and what your doctor predicts after your physical examination!
When Do Doctors Recommend A Scan for Headache?
Your doctor is likely to prescribe a scan when –
- You have had a persistent headache for several days now,
- You get a headache after you turn physically active,
- Your headache lay accompanied by symptoms like seizure, speech change, and movement-related problems,
- You have a sudden chronic headache giving you a feeling that your head might burst,
- There is an alternation in the frequency and intensity of your headache now and then,
- You have a headache only on one side of your head, and there is no pain elsewhere,
- There is a change in your headache pattern, particularly after you have crossed the age of 50,
- Your headache does not get better with the medication prescribed,
- You are immunosuppressed, and you have headaches,
- You have cancer, and a new headache comes up,
- Health conditions like muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea, high blood pressure, fever, numbness in the body, chest pain, dizziness, or infections accompany your headache, or
- You have a vision problem alongside your headache!
Three Best Scans for Tracing Secondary Headaches: X-ray, CT scan, and MRI!
An X-ray, CT scan, and MRI are all significant imagining tests to diagnose the hidden cause of headaches. However, when it comes to which scan is best for headaches for understanding the underlying triggering point, MRI is the most common choice by medical experts. It is because an MRI scan can help provide a more detailed image of your brain if compared to other scans.
Your doctor may recommend an X-Ray for the headache to check if a poorly healed fracture from your past accident is the hidden cause. Your doctor may ask for a sinus X-ray to see whether the headache pops due to your sinus activity. But, the probability of your doctor prescribing an X-ray for headaches is less as this method cannot reveal your soft tissues.
Perhaps, your doctor may also recommend a Computed Tomography or CT scan for the headache to get a cross-sectional image of your brain. This image can highlight whether your headache lay caused by a brain tumor, stroke, an infection or abnormal fluid collection in your brain, internal bleeding, sinus blockages, or trauma.
When the X-ray and CT scan reports give ambiguous results, your doctor straightway moves for the best possible way out, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI. This diagnostic modality can help doctors see various parts of the brain that is not visible in other scans, typically your soft tissues. An MRI helps your doctor look at the spine and back part of your brain.
Why Do Doctors Prefer an MRI scan over an X-Ray or CT Scan for Headaches?
The primary reason for your doctor to prefer an MRI scan over an X-ray or CT scan is certainly the in-detail layout of your brain structure in the image. Since the majority of your brain lies covered with soft tissues, an MRI is more effective in the disease diagnosis. This scan can examine aneurysms causing headaches, i.e., a headache caused by an enlarged artery in or around your brain.
An MRI scan can help doctors detect abnormalities in the white and grey matter in the brain, which is otherwise not possible in an X-ray or CT scan. An MRI can locate the origin of a cancerous cell in your brain that throws the symptom of a headache. It can help doctors assess the size and other characteristics of a benign or malignant brain tumor.
Besides, the MRI process is much safer than an X-Ray or a CT scan. Do you know why? An MRI involves computer-generated radio waves and magnets to extract internal images. Unlike a CT or X-ray, an MRI scan does not expose you to radiation. Hence, if you are pregnant and have an abnormal headache, your doctor is more likely to recommend an MRI. For the same reason, if you ask which scan is best for headaches for children, the answer would be MRI.
In What Cases Do Doctors Prefer a CT scan over MRI for Headaches?
Many a time, your doctor may opt for a CT scan over MRI to diagnose the cause of your unusual headache. Undoubtedly, such a recommendation by your doctor can have multiple reasons. A CT scan is a faster process and therefore becomes crucial in case of an injury or bleeding-causing headache, where your doctor wants the report as soon as possible.
Your doctor may prescribe a CT scan and not an MRI for your headache because you have metallic implants in the body. Yes, if you have a pacemaker, metallic clips and plates, cochlear ear implant, or cardioverter defibrillators, you cannot have an MRI! The magnetic presence during the test can tamper with the test’s accuracy and even cause injuries.
Doctors may order a CT scan over an MRI if they predict that your headache comes from a blood clot or a defect in the skull. Why so? A CT scan is more accurate in diagnosing such internal abnormalities than an MRI. Moreover, an MRI is pretty expensive, and not everyone can afford it. Hence, your doctor may not want to ask for an MRI where the cheaper CT scan can be doable.
So, the next time you have a severe headache for days and nights, and you wonder which can is best for headaches, make sure you visit a doctor. Always remember that your doctor is the only one who can say which scan and which treatment is best for you, or if at all you need a scan for the headache!
If you want to know about scans for headaches, feel free to inform us about your queries at www.mrichandigarh.com. We can try to get by with your answers as soon as possible. For an MRI scan for headaches in Chandigarh, contact us at [email protected]. We stand partnered with the best NABL-certified labs in the city.