Headaches may have been one of the most common phenomenon of your life, but have not bothered to get it checked until now. Most people ignore headaches as a serious ailment and prefer taking over the counter medication such as painkillers. But what you might be missing is a proper and correct diagnosis of headaches that you have been frequently suffering from. Headaches are usually the symptom of another ailment or illness, but they can occur on their own as well. Headaches which occur on their own can be of various kinds as tension headaches, migraine headaches and cluster headaches. A thorough check-up and proper diagnosis of headaches can help the doctor to distinguish among the different types of headaches, while it can also help in treating the same. In case the headache is due to some other chronic illness, the check ups can help in diagnosing the same as well. While most people prefer self medication, it is important to know when to go to the doctor, and when headaches can become a cause of concern.
Diagnosis of headaches can reveal not only the type of headache, but the causes as well. This would however require a thorough examination of the patient`s history, family history, the nature of headache, the patterns, if any, the duration, the area, the degree and the nature of the pain itself. Besides these, the doctor would also want to know the various other symptoms accompanying the headache. This not only helps to distinguish the type of headache, in the case where the latter is a primary illness, but also help recognize the primary illness, if headache is a secondary illness. Many people do not understand or are able to detect when should be the right time to visit the doctor. Some of the conditions when you should consult a physician are sudden onset of headaches in a person who has no such history, when headaches cause you to awaken in the night, changes of the pattern of headaches, or when the mild headaches suddenly become extremely intense or the nature of pain changes. Do be aware of the associated symptoms, such as the stiffness of neck and shoulder muscles, numbness, loss of ability to speak, weakness of muscles on one side of body and fever, among others. Some of these serious disorders could be meningitis, brain tumor, head injury, sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, sinus problems subdural hematoma, temporal arteritis and any other disorders affecting the brain, the spinal cord and the nervous system.
Some of the tests that the doctor would ask you to take will vary depending on these symptoms. In order to reach the right diagnosis of headaches, the doctor first needs to eliminate the neurological illnesses affecting the patient. If this is not the case, the doctor then arrives at diagnosing the type of headache. Some of the specialized tests that the doctor might ask you to undertake are a CT scan, a MRI, an EEG, a spinal tap, skull x-rays, an EMG, drug testing and biopsy, among others. It is the range of general examination, psychological examination, blood tests, X-rays and EEG tests, which eventually help the doctor reach the correct diagnosis.
Know more about other aspects of headaches at About Headaches.