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.
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 true:
Tests you might have
Your 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.
- Lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap). This may be done if your doctor thinks that you might have a problem such as 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.