Making a referral

In some cases a patient will benefit from referral to a specialist

Most patients with migraine should be dealt with by a health professional in primary care. But in some cases it will be best to make a referral to a headache or migraine specialist. Unfortunately, there are not that many neurologists or GPs who have a special interest in headache and migraine.

If a patient has had migraine for many years and if there are no new or unusual features or symptoms then there is no need to refer them for a brain scan. Patients may however request a scan, often because they want reassurance that they do not have a brain tumour. Generally however, brain scans do not provide information that is valuable. If however the history of the patient or through examining the patient there is a suggestion that the migraine or headache could be secondary to underlying pathology a referral should be made.

The Migraine Trust has a database of NHS migraine and headache specialist services with information to aid referral – please see our migraine clinics page.