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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • disability

Objective.—We evaluated the agreement between Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) scores and independent physician judgments about pain, disability, and treatment needs based on patient medical histories.

Background.—The MIDAS questionnaire measures headache-related disability as lost time due to headache from paid work or school, household work, and nonwork activities.

Methods.—Twelve histories from patients with migraine were presented to 49 primary and specialty care physicians unaware of the MIDAS scores. Physicians graded each patient for pain level (mild, moderate, or severe), level of disability (none, mild, moderate, or severe), and need for medical care (from 0 [lowest] to 100 [highest]). Physicians also identified MIDAS scores they associated with different degrees of disability and with the urgency to prescribe an effective treatment during the first consultation.

Results.—The physicians' perceptions of the need for medical care based on medical histories correlated with the MIDAS score (r = .69). Estimates of pain and disability by physicians were directly correlated with increasing MIDAS scores. Using the physicians' clinical judgments, the overall MIDAS score was categorized into four grades of increasing severity.

Conclusions.—Scores on the MIDAS are highly correlated with physician judgments regarding patients' pain, disability, and need for medical care. These findings support the potential utility of the MIDAS questionnaire in clinical practice.