What are the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria for migraine headache?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

The diagnosis of migraine is based on patient history. International Headache Society diagnostic criteria are that patients must have had at least 5 headache attacks that lasted 4–72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated) and that the headache must have had at least 2 of the following characteristics: [1]

  • Unilateral location

  • Pulsating quality

  • Moderate or severe pain intensity

  • Aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity (eg, walking or climbing stairs)

In addition, during the headache the patient must have had at least 1 of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Photophobia and phonophobia


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