Your doctor will diagnose a
migraine by examining you and
asking questions about your health and lifestyle. There are no tests that
can prove that you have migraines.
can be hard to diagnose, because their symptoms
are like those of
other types of headaches. For example, many people have
been diagnosed with sinus headaches when they actually have migraines.
It's likely that you are having migraine headaches if they
happen often and interfere with your daily life.
Symptoms used in diagnosis
Your doctor may use the International Headache
Society's guidelines to diagnose migraines. You may be
diagnosed if ALL of these are
You have 5 or more headaches without an
aura (or 2 headaches with an aura).
headaches last from 4 to 72 hours without treatment.
nausea, you vomit, or your headache gets worse when you're around light or
Tests you might have
doctor will check your symptoms and decide if you need to have tests to
find out if your headaches are caused by another health
problem. Tests may include:
CT scan. These imaging tests may
be used to look for tumors or bleeding in the brain.
But most headaches aren't caused by anything serious, so you
probably won't need to have imaging tests.
Headaches: Should I Have Imaging Tests to Find Out What's Causing My Headaches?
Lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap). This may be
done if your doctor thinks that you might have a problem
meningitis or bleeding in the brain.
Sedimentation rate (a blood test). This test
can find out if another health problem is causing inflammation
related to your headaches.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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