Diagnosing Chronic Migraine with a Questionnaire

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January 26, 2015

How long did you suffer with chronic migraine pain before receiving your diagnosis? According to Britain’s The Migraine Trust organization website, migraines aren’t treated and diagnosed properly in more than 50 per cent of sufferers. The statistics also show that not even 50 per cent of migraineurs seek medical care for their condition. It’s no secret that diagnosing a migraine condition can be a tricky and therefore a frustrating process.

Without a decisive diagnosis, appropriate migraine treatment could be needlessly delayed. Now medical researchers have developed a new questionnaire, the ID-MC, to help patients or their doctors screen them for chronic migraine. According to an article published on Medscape Medical News, the diagnostic tool took 3 years to develop and will become available in a couple of months. The lead author who was interviewed for the article said, “The way we imagine it in clinical practice is that someone completes this questionnaire in a physician’s office and it provides a suggestion that the patient may have chronic migraine.” After that, she said that the physician could perform his own diagnosis and health history review.

In developing the tool, the scientists not only reviewed existing similar tools, but also received input from headache specialists and researchers worldwide. The team also consulted with chronic migraine sufferers about whether the questions were relevant. The questionnaire contains 12 criteria including the frequency of nausea, moderate and severe pain, light sensitivity and concern about missing events and work due to headache symptoms.

The lead presenter for the screening tool said that it would give migraine sufferers a name for the condition that they have been suffering with, and this would enable them to reach out to appropriate specialists and ultimately receive the right migraine treatment they need.

Typically a diagnosis of chronic migraine will rely on your health history information, any headache specific information you can share with your physician along with feedback about any past migraine treatment. Maintaining a headache a diary is always an important tool that gives your doctor critical information about your headache patterns, triggers, symptoms and reactions to various therapies. Your doctor may also review any prior diagnostic imaging, blood tests or results from neurological testing. The more accurate information a doctor has about your headaches, the more likely he can prescribe the migraine treatment that will work best for your condition.

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