Migraine Headaches - Exams and Tests
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.
- You have
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:
- MRI or
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.