Migraine
Diagnosis

Migraine is diagnosed based on the description of your symptoms and a neurological examination. No laboratory or imaging tests are needed to identify the condition. Your doctor will ask about the severity, frequency and duration of your headaches as well as other symptoms you experience and any medications you take.

Before meeting with a headache specialist, maintaining a headache journal that tracks headache patterns can provide helpful information for your diagnosis and treatment. Information to note in your journal includes:

  • Duration of pain
  • Location and severity of pain
  • Other symptoms that accompany headache, such as sound or light sensitivity
  • Medications taken
  • Possible headache triggers

If your headache is associated with visual symptoms such as flashing or zig-zagging lights, blind spots or numbness on one side of the head, it is called migraine with "aura," previously known as classic or classical migraine. About 20 percent of people with migraine experience this type of headache.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Child and Adolescent Headache Program
1825 Fourth St., 5th Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 502-1914
Fax: (415) 353-2400
Appointment information