headaches are depressing, whether they cause a dull ache or blinding pain. The
pain of even a severe headache rarely comes from something catastrophic like a
tumor or a bleeding in the brain. But fear of such cerebral catastrophes often
drives people to get brain scans. According to a study, about one in ten people
who seek outpatient care for severe headaches ultimately end up having a brain
scan with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Most of
them do not find anything wrong.
People with excruciating
headaches go for brain scanning when they do not get relief from medication.
Some physicians do not think of the most
helpful treatments for headaches. That means some patients are not given accurate
information or medications they need to treat their symptoms. Emphasis should be on getting relief from
headache. Hence there is no need of brain scanning, given the right treatment
at the right time.
do not get relief from the pain. Triptans are drugs that can help impede the
headache within two hours, provided the drug is taken when the headache is
still mild. More medication is required if the headache continues to persist even
after two hours of consumption of medicines. Later, other medicines can be
taken to help prevent future attacks.
important to take these drugs as directed.
All of these drugs have potential side effects, therefore pros and cons
should be weighed carefully before considering consumption. These drugs work
for many people if they are used properly.
brain scanning costs more than just money. Frequent scans expose the patients to
potentially harmful x-rays that raise the risk of cancer. Scans tend to lead to
further scanning if the test gives ambiguous results. Possibly 1% to 4% of
brain scans shall reveal something anomalous. Most of these abnormalities are
nothing to worry about.
consult a doctor a couple of times for a severe headache & he has put on
certain drugs, but the headache does not get better, than you and the doctor
would start worrying that this headache is from catastrophe. If it is difficult
to rule out a structural problem in the brain, then it is wise to call for an
MRI. Even though the vast majority of headaches aren’t caused by a tumor or
other serious brain problem, people do not hesitate from brain scans as
insurers usually pay for these scans.
doctor if you observe yourself relying on painkillers for headaches more than a
couple of times a week. Red flags that signal the need for medical evaluation
Headache associated with fever
Severe headache in an older person
Headache associated with symptoms or signs like
swelling in the back of the eyes
Not having had headaches before
Headaches that worsen over the course of a few
A headache that comes on fast (seconds)
do not need a doctors’ consultation or a brain scan. Instead, they need
over-the-counter pain relievers (for instance aspirin, acetaminophen,
ibuprofen, and naproxen) or prescription medications, rest, and relaxation.