Diagnosis Neurology & Neurosurgery

Tension Headaches
Diagnosis

Tension-type headaches usually are diagnosed based on symptoms. Your doctor will ask about the severity, frequency and duration of your headaches as well as other symptoms that occur and medications you are taking. Keeping a headache journal is a good way to track the location and severity of pain, duration of pain, medications taken and possible headache triggers.

If your doctor suspects a tumor or aneurysm, you may undergo 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 create 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 allow doctors to see how 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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