Migraine clinics

Search our map and learn more about migraine clinics, including how to be referred.

Special note

Our migraine clinics list is for information only and focuses on helping doctors to refer patients.

It is the policy of The Migraine Trust to include only NHS clinics and registered charity clinics in this list of migraine and headache health services.

The Migraine Trust does not recommend any particular products or treatments for migraine, nor refer enquirers to specific health professionals, organisations or products.


This page explains the role of migraine clinics in the management of migraine experienced by adults, how to be referred and what to expect if you visit a clinic.

For a list of specialist migraine and headache health services in the UK that are known to The Migraine Trust please scroll down to the map below.

What is a migraine clinic?

A headache or migraine clinic specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of migraine and head pain. The clinics are often linked to a neurology department in a hospital and are directed by a consultant neurologist or doctor with a particular interest and expertise in migraine. They are usually staffed by multi-disciplinary teams.

A migraine clinic will be able to confirm if your attacks are migraine, review your current treatment and suggest ways in which you can manage your condition.

The clinic staff build up a wealth of expertise on the types of migraine, new treatments and will often be able to call upon the services of other experts.

We use the general term of migraine clinics to group together different types of NHS headache services including:

  • Dedicated migraine and headache clinics
  • Children’s migraine clinics, attached to Departments of Neurology or Paediatrics
  • Neurology departments, with an interest in migraine and headache
  • GPs with a Special Interest in headache and migraine (GPwSI).

There are a growing number of new community based services involving GPs with a special interest in migraine and headache. These are sometimes called intermediate care.

Does everyone with migraine need to attend a clinic?

Most people with migraine who ask for a doctor’s advice are cared for solely by their GP. At present, there are not enough specialist clinics to serve everyone with headache and migraine.

If you do not respond well to treatment or if your migraine attacks are not being well managed, further investigation may be needed. The reasons your GP may refer you on to a specialist clinic include:

  • doubt over the diagnosis of migraine;
  • a rarer form of migraine may be suspected;
  • other headaches besides migraine are present and may complicate your diagnosis;
  • the treatment is not working well for you;
  • your migraine attacks or headaches are getting worse/more frequent;
  • at your request.

How can I be referred to a migraine clinic?

All NHS migraine clinics will require a letter of referral from a medical practitioner before they will accept a new patient. This is most likely to be your GP but could be a hospital doctor or other healthcare professional within the NHS.

Do the clinics have long waiting lists?

The number of new patients that a clinic can see depends very much on the number of staff they have and their opening times. The majority of clinics in the UK are open for a few hours per week and most have a waiting list. For most people, the first appointment will take a few weeks, although some clinics have waiting lists of several months.

How should I prepare for my first visit?

A migraine diary

Before you attend the migraine clinic for your first appointment it is worthwhile to keep a diary of your attacks. Keeping a record of these can be very helpful in assisting the doctor to have a clear picture of what you are experiencing. This is also important because as there is no specific test to diagnose migraine, much will be based on your description.

Medication record

The doctor will need to know the names and doses of any medication you have tried before. This should include herbal remedies and complementary treatments (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbalism) that you have tried.

What will happen on my first appointment?

Your first visit to a clinic is likely to be much longer than the time you would usually spend with your GP. The doctor at the clinic will need to take a very detailed history about your condition including your medication (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs), any complementary or alternative remedies you are taking, when your migraines started and how often they occur. The doctor will ask about the ways in which you have taken your drugs – whether they have been in tablet form or through inhalers, injections or suppositories.

You will probably have a physical examination. This may provide important clues for the doctor. An awkward posture or tenderness in the muscles at the back of the neck, for example, are important to note as they may be a contributory factor to your migraine. During your first visit, do ask questions about your condition – this may save you unnecessary worries after your visit.

What treatment will I be offered?

The complex nature of migraine means that the treatments available are varied and differ from person to person. There is currently no cure for migraine.

Once the diagnosis of migraine has been confirmed, the clinic staff will be able to suggest ways in which you can manage the attacks. This may involve trying new medication, advice on lifestyle, suggestions on how to cope with your symptoms, and the self-management of your particular experience with migraine to help minimise its impact upon your everyday life.

Many people find that by analysing their lifestyle in detail, they can reduce the number of attacks and manage their condition effectively. This process can be quite complicated as there is more to reducing the number of migraine attacks than avoiding one food or drink. People rarely have one trigger factor which results in a migraine. In most cases, there is a build up of trigger factors, which may include weather changes, changes in sleep patterns, missing a meal and hormonal changes in women.

If your migraine attacks cannot be managed in this way the doctor may prescribe preventative drugs, although this is not needed for the majority of people with migraine.

Follow up visits

It is not always possible to make a diagnosis of migraine during your first appointment. That may take a series of visits and involve keeping a detailed diary. If you do not have migraine you may be referred to a centre that deals with your type of headache. After a few visits to a clinic, many people find that they do not need to return, as they can manage their own condition. You can of course be referred back again if the need arises.

After your visit the clinic will write to your GP to tell them about any treatment that has been suggested and keep them informed of any progress you make.

How can I find out about local clinics?

Just below you will find a list of the specialist migraine and headache health services in the UK that are known to The Migraine Trust.

Health professionals can submit details of NHS headache services here.