Muscle Contraction Tension Headache Workup

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Syed M S Ahmed, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Laboratory Studies

The diagnosis of tension-type headache (TTH) is clinical. As with the other primary headaches, no specific diagnostic test is available for TTH.

Occasionally, studies may be required to exclude secondary headache disorders.


Imaging Studies

Neuroimaging studies are important to rule out secondary causes of headache, including neoplasms and cerebral hemorrhage.

MRI imaging shows the greatest detail of cerebral structures and is especially useful in evaluating the posterior fossa.

CT scan with contrast is a viable alternative but is inferior to MRI for viewing structures in the posterior fossa.

Neuroimaging is indicated if the headaches are atypical in any way or if they are associated with abnormalities in the neurologic examination.


Other Tests

Consider CSF fluid analysis (lumbar puncture) if concerned about meningitis.