It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

What kind of doctor treats migraine?

When you are suffering from persistent migraine symptoms, you need to know who you can turn to for help. For most people, the first doctor they will see is a general practitioner (GP).

You may consider seeing a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine. Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.2

You should consider making an appointment to see your GP if you have frequent or severe migraine attacks. You should also consider making an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines (on more than 4 days a month), even if they can be controlled with medicines.

Some people continue to have migraine managed by their GP, but others may benefit from seeing a doctor who specialises in the nervous system, including the management of headache conditions such as a neurologist or headache specialist.


When should I consult with a specialist?

Your GP may refer you on to a neurologist/headache specialist if:1

  • They are unsure of the right diagnosis for you, or if a less common form of migraine is suspected
  • You experience different types of headache
  • Your treatment is not working well for you
  • Your migraine attacks are getting more frequent or more intense

Research has shown that many people living with migraine have unnecessarily low expectations of what they can achieve through optimum management, but do discuss with your GP if referral is required.2

So, if migraine is having a negative impact on your daily life, and you’ve not managed to get symptoms under control despite trying preventative treatments, talk to your GP about the possibility of a referral to a specialist.

1. Migraine Clinics. The Migraine Trust. [Last Accessed: November 2018]
2. MacGregor EA, Steiner TJ, Davies PTG. British Association for the Study of Headache Guidelines for All Healthcare Professionals in the Diagnosis and Management of Migraine, Tension-Type, Cluster and Medication-Overuse Headache Writing Committee: 3rd edition (1st revision); approved for publication, September 2010. [Last Accessed: November 2018]