Diagnosis Neurology & Neurosurgery

Cluster Headaches
Diagnosis

Cluster headaches are characterized by a specific type of pain and pattern of attacks. Keeping a headache journal is a great way to track the location, severity and duration of pain; medications; and possible headache triggers.

A physical exam may help your doctor detect signs of a cluster headache. One of your pupils may appear smaller than the other or your eyelid may droop.

If your doctor suspects a tumor or aneurysm, he or she may order one or more of the following tests:

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan A CT scan uses a thin X-ray beam that rotates around the area being examined. A computer processes data to construct a 3-D, cross-sectional image.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) An MRI uses magnetism, radio waves and computer technology, rather than X-rays, to produce images of your brain. Under the right circumstances, MRI and other imaging procedures allows doctors to actually see how the larger structures in the brain are involved during migraine and headache.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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