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Worst Headache of Your Life (cont.)

Worst Headache of Your Life Diagnosis

  • The doctor will ask you questions about your headache and other medical problems and will do a physical examination.
  • Blood or urine tests may be ordered.
  • Specialized imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI may be performed under certain circumstances, either as an emergency procedure or on a more routine basis. Regular X-rays are rarely helpful.
  • Certain types of headaches may require the doctor to do a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. This test involves the removal of a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord) to examine for signs of infection, bleeding, or other physiological problems. Lumbar puncture is a safe test, but unfortunately the removal of spinal fluid may make the patient's headache transiently worse.
  • In some cases referral to a specialist may be necessary, depending on the results of specific tests; for example, a referral to a neurosurgeon is usually ordered if bleeding in the brain is found.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/12/2014

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