When discussing Migraine or other headache disorders, the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) is the gold standard for classifying and diagnosing headache disorders. The ICHD is now in its third edition (ICHD-3) and can be found online. There are sound, logical reasons for using standardized diagnoses:
- It helps keep everyone "on the same page."
- It simplifies matters if and when patients need to seek care from someone other than their regular health care providers.
- These criteria give researchers a standardized set of criteria so that research is more uniform and valuable.
- It's far easier for discussion purposes if everyone is using the same term to describe the various disorders.
Unfortunately, even some doctors don't use the ICHD-3 diagnoses on a regular basis. This is most likely due to how little doctors are taught about Migraine and other headache disorders during medical school. Unless a doctor is a Migraine and headache specialist or a neurologist, they may not be aware of the ICHD-3.
There are several patients who write about Migraine and headache online and/or are patient advocates for Migraine and headache patients. When we come across a discussion where a form of Migraine is being discussed, and it's not a standard ICHD-3 diagnosis, we generally give people information about the ICHD-3 and the "official" forms of Migraine. If you're part of one of those discussions, and one of us posts information for you, please don't be offended. We're just trying to offer information and support. Continuing to learn about our Migraines is one of the most valuable tools we have for working effectively as treatment partners with our doctors, and we all want to offer you the most accurate information possible.
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"