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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Migraine: Diagnosis & Tests
      Category : Health Centers > Headache


Alternate Names : Migraine Without Aura, Vascular Headaches

Migraine | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

How is the condition diagnosed?

According to the International Headache Society, migraine is diagnosed when a person has the following:

  • at least five headache episodes, each lasting 4 to 72 hours
  • nausea or sensitivity to light and sounds
  • at least two of the following: one-sided pain, pulsing pain, moderate or severe pain, or pain aggravated by physical activity
  • There are no blood tests for migraine.

    Usually a migraine headache can be diagnosed with a complete physical examination and a medical history that includes information about the person's headache experiences. Doctors seldom use tests to diagnose a migraine. They may order tests to rule out other possible causes of the headache. These tests may include:

  • biopsy of the arteries in the head. In this test, a doctor collects a small sample of the artery and examines it under a microscope.
  • a cranial CT scan, which is an examination of the head using a special three-dimensional X-ray
  • a cranial MRI, which is a special three-dimensional image made using a magnetic field
  • an electroencephalogram, also called an EEG, which is a recording of brain waves
  • an electromyogram, also called an EMG. This test is a recording of the electrical activity of selected muscle groups.
  • skull X-rays
  • a spinal tap, where a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid is removed from the spine using a thin needle
  • testing of levels of certain drugs or toxins in the blood

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    Migraine: Symptoms & Signs


    Migraine: Prevention & Expectations

    Author: Michael Curiel, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/05/01

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