Imaging Tests for Headaches: When you need them and when you don’t

To find out if a headache is caused by a serious problem, many people sit through a CT Scan or an MRI. Let’s us discuss in which situations you need an imaging scan.

Headache is a common woe suffered by many people. To find out if your headache is caused by a serious problem, such as a brain tumor, many people sit through a CT Scan or an MRI. Let’s us discuss in which situations you need an imaging scan: 

When should you take an imaging test for headaches? 

In cases where your health care provider is not able to diagnose your headache based on your medical history and neurological exam, an MRI or CT is ordered by the doctor. You may also need an exam if the other test shows something that is not normal. 

  • These are some scenarios of unusual headaches when you must see your health care provider immediately to consult if you need an MRI or CT Scan: 
  • Sudden and severe headache that feels like something is bursting in your head. 
  • Your headache is different from your usual headaches that you generally have, more so if you’re age 50 or older. 
  • Your headaches are accompanied by other severe symptoms such as a seizure or fit, an alteration in speech or alertness, loss of control. 
  • Your headaches happen mostly when you’ve been physically active. 

How to treat a headache 

Unless a severe ailment is diagnosed in your imaging scan, follow these simple steps that help with most headaches: 

Avoid TriggersTriggers are events that lead to headaches. Here are a few tips in which you can help avoid triggers. 

If you have migraines: 

  • Do not skip meals 
  • Wear tinted pair of shades in bright light
  • Say no to alcohol, aged cheese (dry, hard cheeses such as parmesan), meat with added nitrates. 
In case of tension headaches: 
  • Avoid getting over tired 
  • Keep your jaw relaxed 
  • Keep your neck and back straight when you sit or stand 
Quit Smoking 
  • Smoking can lead to either headaches 
Manage your Stress 
  • Practice yoga, stretching, meditation, or other activities that help you relax. 
Get Adequate Sleep 
  • Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. You can set a regular time to go to bed and to wake up. Keep yourself from watching TV or computer before you go to bed. 
Exercise Regularly  
  • Regular exercise, brisk walking, such as swimming, or cycling, can cut down stress and ease headaches. 
Non-prescription pain medication or treatment from a pain-relief doctor: 
  • Botox for migraine pain is also a common solution to migraine these days. 

If your headache is persistent, there are other therapies that your pain doctor can give to lower the pain level or bring down the episodes considerably. 

CT & MRI Major Differences: Which One is Right For You?

Ever been to an imaging center for MRI or CT? Noticed how similar the machines are? Well, they aren’t. Learn the differences between the two and which one is the right fit for you.

Ever had to undergo Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)? If yes, you might have wondered what the difference between the two scans is? Both the machines look almost identical and are designed to capture images of certain internal parts of the body. What, then, is the difference between the two?

Let’s take a look:

Although MRI and CT Scans seem similar and serve similar purposes, they do not have the same machine.

CT Scans

CT Scans use radioactive X-rays to take individual image slices of the body. They are efficient at producing detailed images of the head, chest, abdomen, skeletal system, and more. CTs are generally quieter, faster, and more comfortable than MRI tests.

MRI Scans

MRI uses a combination of strong magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to create images of the body. Unlike CT Scans, MRI doesn’t scan bone. However, it is used to produce images of the head, chest, abdomen, and chest. MRI Scans are efficient at taking pictures of soft tissue. It doesn’t involve radiation like CTs, but they take longer than CTs and are mostly noisier.

Which scan is better than the other?

Both MRI and CT Scans have their advantages and disadvantages. There are a lot of factors which can come into play if you have to decide. But mostly it boils down to the type of injury you have, as well as preference.

Advantages of MRI Scans

  • Unlike CTs, MRIs do not involve radiation. Hence, they are safe to use on patients who are required to take multiple scans or children.
  • The scanning plane in an MRI is adjustable without the need to move the patient.
  • The type of contrast used in an MRI scan has lesser chances of causing any allergies to the patient.
  • MRIs are excellent at capturing images of soft tissue. Even the radio frequency can be adjusted to better highlight the issue in question.

Advantages of CT Scans

  • Patients with a fear of close spaces suffering from claustrophobia may find CT Scan more comfortable, as it is faster and less noisy than an MRI.
  • CT Scans are not as sensitive to patient movement during the procedure.
  • CTs are comparatively faster than MRI. Hence, they make a better choice during emergency situations.
  • Patients with metal fragments or devices can undergo a CT because it doesn’t involve a magnetic field.

Here are some cases in which these scanners are used:

As every situation is unique. Therefore, doctors may suggest an alternate approach in the following cases.

  • For a patient with a spinal injury, the doctor will most likely order for a CT scan, unless the patient has metal implants.
  • Patients with a history of allergies will most likely receive an MRI scan order.
  • Claustrophobic patients are likely to receive CT scan orders as it’s for a shorter duration.
  • For patients with internal bleeding or other injuries, doctors are likely to order an MRI scan to obtain accurate detail.

MRI’s are mostly less affordable than CTs. However, in Texas, an affordable MRI & affordable CT Scan is near you at Innate Imaging.

Also Read: Sports Injuries: What kind of tests are required for diagnosis