Diagnosis of Migraines

The diagnosis of migraine is primarily based upon reported symptoms, but a thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions. 

Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your physician helps with the process of making an accurate migraine diagnosis. Consider writing down the following information to take to your medical appointment:

  • time of day when your headaches occur
  • specific location of your headaches
  • how your headaches feel
  • how long your headaches last
  • any changes in behavior or personality
  • effect of changes in position on the headache
  • effect of headaches on sleep patterns
  • information about stress in your life
  • information about any head trauma

Procedures that may be used for the diagnosis of migraine include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imagining (MRI), and spinal tap. These tests help to rule out other problems such as tumors, infection, or blood vessel irregularities that may cause migraine like symptoms.

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