Head hurting for 3 weeks; ER found nothing wrong?

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  • Full Question:

    My head has been hurting for about 3 weeks now. Went to the ER and they did cat scan and can't find nothing wrong and I still have headaches do you no of any over the counter meds I can take? Falana.


    Full Answer:

    Dear Falana;


    The ER isn't a good place to go for headaches that aren't a true emergency, and you can't reach your doctor. You'd have been better off to have seen your own doctor who knows you and your medical history.


    Imaging studies seldom show anything with Migraine or other headache disorders. They're ordered to rule out organic issues such as tumor, stroke, aneurysm, etc. That's what they're used for. Headache disorders generally don't show on imaging.

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    The two most common headache disorders are tension-type headache (See Tension-Type Headaches - The Basics.) and Migraine without aura (See Migraine Without Aura - the Basics.). Without more information about other symptoms, etc., it's difficult to know which is more likely.


    Your best next step is to see your own doctor. He or she can get copies of the imaging studies done at the hospital, check to see if he or she sees anything on them, and add them to your medical records.


    We're happy to have this discussion with you and offer you information that you can also discuss with your doctor. Beyond that, the help you need must come from a doctor who can review your personal and family medical history with you, discuss your symptoms with you, and examine you in person. If it turns out that your doctor isn't able to help you, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It’s important to note that neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check the Find a Health Care Specialist on the ACHE web site.


    Thanks for your question,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert




    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.


    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.


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    Last updated March 18, 2014.

Published On: March 18, 2014