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Headaches in Children - Exams and Tests

Your child's doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions, such as how often the headaches occur and what the symptoms are. The doctor will ask about your child's overall health.

Migraines and tension headaches can be similar to other kinds of headaches, which may have different treatments. So it's important for your child's doctor to find out what kind of headache your child has. The doctor also can make sure your child doesn't have other health problems that may be related to the headaches.

It's common for parents to feel very concerned about their child's headaches. You may feel that more testing is needed to rule out serious causes. But doctors often can find out the type and the cause of the headaches without using other tests.

In some cases, imaging and other tests may be recommended to rule out other health problems, but this isn't common. These tests include:

  • An MRI or CT scan, which can show pictures of the brain to rule out problems like tumors or bleeding.
  • An electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the electrical activity in the brain.
  • A lumbar puncture, in which a needle is used to remove a small amount of fluid from the spinal canal. The fluid is then looked at for signs of infection.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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