To diagnose migraine, a doctor needs to find out the patient's medical history and do a physical examination.
Anyone who regularly suffers from migraines should consult a doctor who should make a diagnosis based on what structure the pain comes from.
Many doctors make a diagnosis based on the symptoms, but this frequently leads to misdiagnosis and the wrong treatment.
The patient’s history and a physical exam are all that is needed to diagnose migraine headaches. Additional tests are only needed to help diagnose other conditions which may cause similar symptoms.
Brain scans are not necessary unless the initial neurological examination suggests that one should be done.
What is a migraine?
Causes of migraines
Reviewed by Dr Elliot Shevel, BDS, Dip MFOS, MB, BCh, Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon and Medical Director, The Headache Clinic, Johannesburg and Cape Town, February 2015.