Eeg And Mri For Headache Diagnosis
Physicians use a wide range of diagnostic techniques and technologies to diagnose medical conditions including headaches and migraines, both of which can adversely affect the quality of life among patients. Two of these diagnostic technologies are the EEG and MRI, both of which are used to see into the body and, in the process, determine any abnormalities in its structure.
An electroencephalogram is a test wherein the brains electrical signals are recorded. The brains electrical activity is detected by sensors placed on your scalp, the signals of which are then transmitted into a polygraph for recording purposes.
While an EEG is not part of a standard headache diagnostic procedure, it is performed to rule out or to look for evidence of seizures. This is because seizures have symptoms similar to headaches and seizures can also be accompanied by headaches. The brain may have a malfunction that causes either of the two medical conditions.
Before an EEG, be sure to discuss medications with your doctor since drugs can affect your brains activity. Be sure to wash your hair before the test preferably at night but avoid using hair products like cream, oils and spray.
You can immediately go home after the procedure unless otherwise recommended by your doctor. Tip: Use nail polish remover to completely remove the glue used in attaching the electrodes to your scalp.
Checking Your Brain Activity
An electroencephalogram is used to check for unusual electrical activity in the brain that can happen in people with epilepsy.
During the test, small sensors are attached to your scalp to pick up the electrical signals produced when brain cells send messages to each other.
These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at to see if they’re unusual.
Can A Brain Tumor Cause An Eeg Abnormality
Tumor Type and EEG. EEG patterns are not specific for tumor pathology, but some general correlations exist. Slowly growing extra-axial tumors, such as meningiomas, produce the mildest EEG disturbances, whereas rapidly growing intra-axial tumors, such as glioblastomas, cause the most marked abnormalities.
Recommended Reading: Migraine Causes Fever
Neuromuscular Dentist In Chicago Il Accepting Patients Nationwide & Worldwide
Headaches are typically diagnosed solely based on your subjective narrative and a physical exam by your dentist. In some cases, however, more diagnostic testing is necessary to determine the cause of your migraine headache or to rule out a more serious condition. One test that your dentist may use is the electroencephalogram or EEG.
An EEG may not be ordered immediately, unless corresponding epileptic conditions occur. It may be a few visits before your doctor decides to order an EEG.
Is It Time To See A Neurologist For Your Headaches
Your family doctor is a great starting point for headache relief. But for chronic headaches that dont respond to treatment, you may need to enlist the help of a neurologist.
The average headache doesnt require a call to a neurologist or even your family doctor. But if you’re experiencing frequent headaches and using medication for them on the regular, thats a different story.
If you have a history of headaches that come once or twice a month and go away when you take an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, you may not need to seek further treatment, says Sandhya Kumar, MD, a neurologist and headache specialist at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
If youre having headaches more than four times a month, especially if they are debilitating and keeping you home from work, you should see a provider for diagnosis and medication, says Dr. Kumar.
Why Might I Need An Eeg
The EEG is used to evaluate several types of brain disorders. When epilepsy is present, seizure activity will appear as rapid spiking waves on the EEG.
People with lesions of their brain, which can result from tumors or stroke, may have unusually slow EEG waves, depending on the size and the location of the lesion.
The test can also be used to diagnose other disorders that influence brain activity, such as Alzheimer’s disease, certain psychoses, and a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.
The EEG may also be used to determine the overall electrical activity of the brain . The EEG may also be used to monitor blood flow in the brain during surgical procedures.
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend an EEG.
Are Children Different From Adults
Children are more likely to have autonomic symptoms, especially during seizures, and to have isolated long-lasting ictal autonomic manifestations. By contrast, in adults, ictal autonomic manifestations are usually associated, simultaneously or sequentially, with other motor or sensory ictal features . Evaluation of temporal lobe seizures recorded on video-EEG has indeed shown that abdominal epilepsy, characterized by episodic abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and confusion, is a common autonomic manifestation of temporal lobe epilepsy in children . The tendency for rapid propagation of occipital seizures, especially to the temporal lobes, might explain why parietooccipital seizures have predominant autonomic symptoms and can be mistakenly diagnosed as migraine.
In children, migraine without aura is five times more common than migraine with aura . In addition, there is not such an overwhelming female preponderance in children as in adults . A recent study of children with headache showed that 56 of 1,795 had both headache and epilepsy most often this was migraine. In 44%, the onset of epilepsy preceded that of the headache in 27% headache started first and in 29% both started in the same year. There were no cases of migralepsy . It is interesting to note that the vast majority of the 56 cases with both headache and epilepsy had cryptogenic or idiopathic focal epilepsy yet 12.5% showed a PPR .
Don’t Miss: Migraine Cause Fever
Signs That You Should See A Neurologist For Your Headaches
As a general rule, for nonsevere headaches, your family doctor is a great person to start with. Approximately two out of three people talk to their primary care doctor first, according to the American Headache Society.
If the recommended treatments are not working well or you have unusual symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist, who specializes in disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Possible signs that you may need to see a specialist for your headaches include:
Why Use An Eeg Test For Headaches
EEGs are not a standard part of a headache exam. But your doctor may order one to look for signs of seizures, which can cause symptoms similar to those associated with migraine or other types of headaches. Some people also have seizures with their headaches.
Recommended Reading: Octal Migraine
Does Migralepsy Exist
Diagnosing migralepsy has a lot to do with the inability to discriminate visual aura from migraine and epilepsy most likely there is an overlap in both disorders in the expression of visual disturbances . In addition, interictal scalp EEG studies are often not conclusive.
Most reported cases of migralepsy are complicated and do not have an unequivocal migraineepilepsy sequence thus they may be considered as genuine epileptic occipital seizures that resemble migraine with aura, the seizures being characterized by visual aura, headache and other autonomic symptoms. Migraine patients with aura often find it difficult to distinguish between triggering of the migraine by bright lights and the visual aura itself. EEG studies with standardized photic stimulation are recommended in headache and migralepsy patients who have a family history of epilepsy and migraine, to distinguish photosensitive occipital epilepsy from migraine.
Headache can even be a sole ictal epileptic event. Children especially may have a lower threshold for triggering cortical spreading depression than that required for an epileptic focus. In other words, an epileptic seizure may facilitate the onset of CSD to a greater degree than CSD facilitates the onset of epileptic seizure. Thus headache develops frequently after an epileptic seizure but it is rare indeed for a migraine attack to trigger an epileptic seizure .
Thus migralepsy most likely does not exist.
How Does An Eeg Work
The billions of nerve cells in your brain produce very small electrical signals that form patterns called brain waves. During an EEG, small electrodes and wires are attached to your head. The electrodes detect your brain waves and the EEG machine amplifies the signals and records them in a wave pattern on graph paper or a computer screen .
There are several different ways to conduct an EEG:
- Standard EEG recording is done in the office and usually lasts an hour. You may be asked to do a sleep-deprived EEG, which requires you to have only 4 hours of sleep. Abnormal brain waves may appear when the body is stressed or fatigued. This exam usually takes 2 to 3 hours. You will be given specific instructions regarding food, drink, and medications that may need to be avoided.
- Ambulatory EEG involves wearing a portable EEG recorder on a belt around your waist for several days or weeks. The EEG recorder along with a diary you keep of daily activities and drug dosages helps the doctor relate your activity to specific EEG recordings.
- Video EEG monitoring is available in specialized centers for patients with frequent seizures or sleep disorders. You stay in the hospital and are monitored both by EEG and a video camera. This allows you to be observed during a seizure so that your physical behavior can be monitored at the same time as your EEG.
Recommended Reading: Daith Piercing Relieves Migraines
Types Of Epilepsy Mistaken For Migraines
Occipital epilepsy can be mistaken for epilepsy. This type of seizure typically lasts less than a minute, whereas a migraine lasts anywhere from five minutes to an hour. Occipital epilepsy and migraines can cause someone to see multiple circular spots.
When someone sees brightly colored spots moving horizontally and increasing in size, it is a symptom of epilepsy. If the person has a migraine, the lights spread from a single point and leave behind a degree of blindness. Someone with aural effects with a migraine may see a kaleidoscope of color for several minutes before the field of vision closes in, giving them a warning that the pain is about to start.
An occipital lobe seizure can cause many of the symptoms of a migraine like blurred vision, visual disturbances and lack of awareness but without the headache pain a migraine would. However, most people who have migraines dont have auras or colored visual disturbances. Those who do have visual disturbances sometimes smell, hear and feel things that are not present as well. Pins and needles sensations are common if this is the case. After a migraine with an aura, limb weakness periodically occurs.
An acute confusional migraine with its intense loss of awareness before the pain sets in can be mistaken for epilepsy. The confusion and awareness may occur seconds or minutes before the severe pain kicks in.
What Is A Migraine Eye
An optical migraine, often called an ocular migraine, ophthalmic migraine or eye migraine, is a migraine in which temporary abnormalities in vision, including distortion and vision loss, take place. Not to be confused with a migraine with aura which affects both eyes, an optical migraine only affects one eye.
Also Check: Does Cream Of Tartar Work For Migraines
What Is A Migraine
A migraine is a type of headache with symptoms like a severe and throbbing headache on one side of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, numbness or tingling in the extremities or face, sensitivity to light and sound, touch and smell.
Some people with migraines experience an aura before the head pain starts. Migraine aura symptoms include visual disturbances ocular migraine), water retention, problems sleeping, appetite changes, and irritability.
Can An Eeg Induce A Seizure
. Also asked, can an EEG detect past seizures?
Even someone who has seizures every week can have a normal EEG test. This is because the EEG only shows brain activity during the time of the test. The EEG generally records brain waves between seizures, called interictal brain waves. These waves may or may not show evidence of seizure activity.
One may also ask, when should an EEG be done after a seizure? When performed within 24-48 hours of a first seizure EEG shows substantial abnormalities in about 70% of cases. The yield may be lower with longer delays after the seizure.
Herein, what does an EEG look like with seizures?
When a seizure happens during an EEG, the normal pattern of brain activity that is seen on the EEG reading changes, and different brain activity can be seen. In focal seizures the change in brain activity can be seen only on the electrodes on the part of the brain the seizure is happening in.
Do you have to have a seizure during EEG?
An EEG can usually show if you are having a seizure at the time of the test, but it can‘t show what happens to your brain at any other time. So even though your test results might not show any unusual activity it does not rule out having epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy are very difficult to identify with an EEG.
Don’t Miss: Migraine Headaches Numbness
When To Seek Emergency Care For A Headache
- Your headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, or blurry vision.
- Your headache is accompanied by weakness or loss of control of part of your body, speech, or vision. This could signal a stroke.
- Your headache is sudden and severe and is accompanied by a stiff neck or fever. This could be meningitis, an inflammation of the brain usually caused by a viral infection.
- Your headache is the worst headache of your life. The abrupt onset of a very severe headache could mean bleeding or a clot in the brain, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Additional reporting by Becky Upham.
How Is A Diagnosis Made
There is no actual test to diagnose migraine. Diagnosis will depend upon your doctor taking your medical history and ruling out other causes for the attacks. To make a firm diagnosis, information from two sources will be used:
When you visit your doctor to talk about your headaches, you should therefore expect to give quite detailed information about your attacks. Keeping a simple migraine diary can be very helpful. This might include details of treatment you have tried in the past which has not helped the attacks.
You may have heard of techniques such as CAT or MRI scans, where a picture is taken of your brain. Although these tests will help rule out other causes of headache, they cannot be used to diagnose migraine. Similarly, an EEG will not help the doctor to make a correct diagnosis of migraine nor do routine blood tests help.
Don’t Miss: Do Migraines Cause Diarrhea
What To Tell Your Doctor About Your Headaches
A thorough history, aided by your detailed notes, can pinpoint causes, triggers, and even potential solutions. Make careful notes about your headache experiences before you go to the doctor. Include the following:
- When the headaches occur
- What, if anything, makes them feel better or go away
- Whether sound, light, or noise bother you during headaches
- Whether there are any changes in your vision before or during headaches, such as blurriness, black spots, or flashes of light
- How well you slept the night before your headache
- If you are a woman, when your headaches occur in relation to your menstrual cycle
- Any unusual weather at the time of your headaches
- Food or drink that you have consumed in the 24 hours before the headache
- Activities you were engaging in when the headache began or just prior to it
- Previous headache diagnoses and treatments youve tried
Dr. Goadsby recommends using a monthly calendar so that the pattern of headache days is clearly visible to you and your doctor.
If you are having severe or disabling headaches, dont wait a full month to call for an appointment make notes about what you recall or are experiencing and see a doctor as soon as you can.
Why Are Eeg So Expensive
An EEG system is pretty straightforward. A set of electrodes connected to an amplifier. The EEG amplifier tends to be more complex than a regular amplifier because, as with all physiological data, it is very noisy. And if you consider that they have around 30 electrodes each, the cost is driven up significantly.
You May Like: Migraine Medication With Caffeine
How Migraines Differ From Seizures
Someone debilitated by a migraine headache will be in serious pain but not unresponsive as someone with a grand petite seizure is, and someone with a migraine headache will not lose convulse like someone with grand mal seizures.
However, a severe migraine can cause someone to feel light headed and faint, which can be mistaken for a seizure. After the migraine, someone may feel confused, tired, moody or be extraordinarily sensitive to light and sound.
An extremely bad headache without any other symptoms like alternation of consciousness, dizziness, visual changes or EEG spikes is a migraine and cannot be a seizure.
Migraines may start in someones teens or twenties, but if someone is going to develop them, it will usually show up before the age of thirty. The incidence of migraines will peak in the thirties and forties.
Women are three times more likely to have migraine headaches, while there is no such gender bias for epilepsy. For women, migraines have a strong hormonal link. Migraine symptoms are less likely immediately before or during a womans period, correlating to a drop in estrogen.
Hormonal contraceptives help some womens migraines while worsening others. Interestingly, migraines hormonal link causes many women to see them stop when they hit menopause. Migraines with an aura tend to become less frequent with age, though the migraine headaches without the aura may persist. However, migraine related vertigo becomes more common with age.