Kanye's doctor recommended an MRI for migraine. Why didn't yours?

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News stations have recently reported that Kanye West was rushed to a hospital in Australia during his recent tour due to an intense migraine. If you suffer from migraines, you may be asking yourself why your doctor didn’t recommend an MRI. While there is a chance that Kanye’s doctor, like many of us, may have just been plain curious about what is going on in his head, but since an MRI scan is not able to diagnose migraines, cluster or tension headaches, it’s more likely that he is either suffering from chronic headaches or they were trying to rule out another medical condition.   

Migraine pain is caused by an interaction between the brain and blood vessels and it is not possible for an imaging study to show this happening or taking place in the brain. An MRI image of a person suffering a migraine or headache will actually look like a person who does not have any headache at all. So when an MRI is ordered for a migraine, the test is most likely trying to make sure that there is nothing dangerous causing the intense headache.

While an MRI is not able to diagnose that you are experiencing a migraine, it is valuable in ruling out other medical conditions such as brain tumor, infection, build up of fluid, spinal cord problems, strokes and other injuries. An MRI is not typically recommended unless you are having chronic headaches, explosive migraines,  receive an abnormal result from another test (like a CT scan) or have health concerns that you think may be causing your pain. Most people do not need a doctor evaluation or an MRI, but here are just some red flag scenarios that might indicate the need for a doctor visit:

  • Relying on painkillers for headaches several times a week
  • Worsening of headaches over the course of a few weeks
  • Spontaneous headache that comes on fast (within seconds)
  • Suddenly suffering from headaches when you hadn’t previously
  • Headaches accompanied by fever, seizure, vomiting, a loss of coordination or a change in vision, speech or alertness

Again, an MRI is not the standard test for a headache or migraine, but is an excellent test for a patient whose physician would like to know more about the cause of headache or is concerned about their neurological symptoms.

Dr. Steve Sweriduk, Medical Director for Shields MRI says, “There are many indications for doing a brain MRI scan. We image patients looking for causes of the headache, patients who have developed a sudden change in their neurological symptoms, patients who may have had a stroke, may have a brain tumor or those who suffer from multiple sclerosis. An MRI is very sensitive in detecting those pathologies, but it’s also excellent in excluding those pathologies.”

If you are suffering from headaches or other neurological symptoms and your doctor recommends a brain MRI, you’ll want to consider an MRI facility, like Shields MRI, that offers a 1.5T MRI machine and specializes in brain MRI. To find a Shields MRI near you, click here.



Shields Health Care Group: www.shields.com



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