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How to Quickly Assess Headache-Related Disability

How to Quickly Assess Headache-Related Disability

You recently diagnosed migraine without aura in a patient who complains of headaches of moderate intensity. Is a migraine-specific prescription agent warranted? A validated tool, such as the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) questionnaire, can be used to quantify a patient's level of disability-and thus can help you determine which treatment is most appropriate. The questionnaire can also:

  • Improve communication about headache-related disability between you and your patient.
  • Establish a baseline measure to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.1
The first section of the MIDAS questionnaire (questions 1 to 5) measures the amount of days over a period of 3 months that a patient experiences disability in his or her daily activities. The total number of days is the patient's score, which, when translated to a grade (I to IV), indicates the level of need for care and aggressive treatment. The second section (questions A and B) provides information that is useful in determining headache frequency and attack severity.


1. Stewart WF. The role of disability assessment in migraine management. Drug Benefit Trends. 2002;14(suppl C):13-17.
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