Get access

Tools for Diagnosing Migraine and Measuring Its Severity


  • Richard B. Lipton MD,

  • Marcelo E. Bigal MD, PhD,

  • Joan C. Amatniek MD, MSc,

  • Walter F. Stewart PhD, MPH

  • From the Departments of Neurology (Drs. Lipton and Bigal), and Epidemiology and Population Health (Dr. Lipton), The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; The New England Center for Headache, Stamford, Conn (Dr. Bigal); Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Titusville, NJ (Dr. Amatniek); and the Center for Health Research and Rural Advocacy, Geisinger Health Systems and the Department of Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md (Dr. Stewart).

Address all correspondence to Dr. Marcelo E. Bigal, 1165 Morris Park Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10461.


Migraine remains substantially underdiagnosed and undertreated in the United States. Tools to screen for migraine and to measure headache-related disability can help address barriers to effective diagnosis and treatment. In this article, public health criteria for screening programs for any medical condition are first reviewed. Modifications of these criteria for migraine and other chronic/episodic disorders are then proposed. Migraine is assessed to determine how well it meets criteria for screening and the steps that are necessary before firm public policy recommendations for screening for migraine are possible.