How Does a Neurologist Diagnose Migraines?
A migraine can cause a pulsing sensation on one side of your head. Other symptoms also include nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. A migraine can last for several hours, and it can be so severe that it affects your life. Some people get warning signs. This is called aura, and it occurs before or with the headache. These symptoms include blind spots or flashes of light, difficulty speaking, tingling on one side of your arm, leg, or face. Did you know that a migraine is not just a headache but a neurological disorder? The effects of this condition differ from one person to another. It is important to educate both doctors and the public in the UAE about migraines because most tomes they are misdiagnosed as sinuses.
Symptoms of Migraines
Migraines might begin when you are a child, teenager, or adult to progress through all the 4 stages, which are prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. However, not everybody goes through all the 4 stages.
Predrome happens 1 or 2 days before a migraine. There might be signs like food cravings, constipation, mood changes, neck stiffness, frequent yawning, and increased thirst. When it comes to aura, it might occur before or during the migraine, it all depends on the individual. Although auras are usually visual, they can also be disturbances. Each symptom begins slowly and then builds up for up to 60 minutes or less.
A migraine can last between 4 to 72 hours if it is untreated. However, the frequency of the condition varies from person to person. The attacks might occur rarely or severally in a month. After a migraine attack, you might feel confused, drained, or tired. Some individuals feel happy. However, moving your head suddenly might bring back the pain, but only briefly, this is called post-drome.
How Neurologists Diagnose Migraines
Most migraines can go undiagnosed because people ignore the symptoms. A neurologist is a physician who specializes in treating, nerves, spinal cord, and brain disorders. There are several ways to diagnose a migraine;
After booking an appointment with your neurologist Dubai office, the specialist will try to understand your medical history related to headaches. It is necessary to inform the specialist when the headaches started and how long you’ve experienced them.
Also, tell the specialist about the triggers if you know them, whether you experience a single or multiple types of headaches, and whether anybody else in your family has headaches. It is also necessary to tell the specialist whether these headaches affect your daily life.
The neurologist will try to understand your headaches by asking you the location of the pain, how long it lasts, the severity of the pain, frequency, if there is aura or other signs before the headache, and the time it occurs. It is advisable to inform the physician of your previous headache treatments and the medications you took. You can bring the medicines or a list, and don’t forget to ring any X-rays or imaging tests done by other doctors.
Physical and Neurological Assessment
After learning about your headaches, the neurologist performs a physical and neurological assessment. This examination involves looking for signs of an underlying illness or condition that might be the cause of your migraines.
These signs and symptoms include dizziness, seizures, mental confusion, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, impaired speech, vision changes, numbness, and muscle weakness.
The purpose of this test is to rule out brain or nerve diseases that might cause migraines and headaches. Most headaches are benign and pose no dangers. The test is conducted to evaluate whether you have a structural or physical abnormality in your brain that might be the root of your migraines. For instance, blood clots, tumors, hemorrhage, meningitis, aneurysm, sinus blockage, hydrocephalus, or brain abscess.
The good thing about consulting a neurologist Dubai specialist is that you will be submitted to various tests to identify the causes of your migraines. Although a psychological assessment is not a routine evaluation, it is useful to identify the stress factors causing your migraines. The specialist might ask more in-depth questions, or you might be required to answer a questionnaire. After assessing the results of these tests the doctor determines whether you need additional tests.
Additional tests are usually prescribed to identify underlying medical conditions that cause migraines. For instance, blood chemistry and urinalysis; this test determines whether you have infections, thyroid problems, or diabetes, which can all cause migraines. This tests several substances in your urine, like bacteria, byproducts of normal and abnormal metabolism, and cellular fragments.
An eye exam is also recommended to rule out pressure of the optic nerve or glaucoma. A CT scan might also be conducted. This provides an image of the cross-section of your body. A CT scan of the head determines whether you have any condition that might cause migraines.
An MRI, on the other hand, produces clearer pictures without relying on an X-ray like a CT scan. A physician might recommend an MRI if you experience migraines daily, or it might also be conducted if a CT scan does not provide conclusive results. An MRI is effective for evaluating specific parts of the brain that are not easily captured by a CT scan, as the back part of the brain and the spine at the level of the neck.
The specialist might also recommend a spinal tap, where spinal fluid is removed from your spinal canal. This test checks for brain or spinal cord infections, which can cause migraines and headaches. A sinus X-ray might also be recommended if your symptoms indicate that you could be having sinus problems. You might also undergo an EEG exam; this test records your brain’s electrical signals. The physician recommends this test to determine whether you have signs of seizures, which can also cause migraines.
Migraines can affect every aspect of your life because you cannot conduct your chores when you are in pain. Migraines have different causes and triggers, and sometimes they give you warnings before they occur. It is advisable to seek medical help whenever you have a recurring headache.