The Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) Test

How Migraines Affect Your Everyday Functioning

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The Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) questionnaire can be used to evaluate the extent to which your migraines interfere with your ability to carry out your responsibilities and function in daily life. It is composed of five questions which are scored to convert to a MIDAS disability grade, and two additional questions that focus on the frequency and severity of your migraines.

Your MIDAS score and your responses to the two additional questions can help guide you and your doctor as you consider the right treatment plan for your migraines.

Purpose of Test

The MIDAS test is designed to assess the impact of migraines on your daily life. But it does not diagnose migraines or rule out other serious medical conditions. The test takes into account the previous three months because it is really about getting an overview of your migraines, which is useful in creating a long-term treatment plan.

It can also be beneficial to take the test again after several months to see whether your score has changed. Repeating the test can help you assess the effectiveness of your migraine prevention therapy or help identify migraine triggers.

Limitations

While the MIDAS test is useful, people with migraines report that the questions miss some of the subtle aspects of migraines, and most want to discuss other details and symptoms with their doctor. It is certainly a helpful tool, but it should not be used as the only means of communication between you and your doctor.

Migraine Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Man

How to Take the MIDAS Test

One of the best ways to use this test is to take it at home and then discuss your results to your doctor. It can take some time for you to carefully consider the questions on the MIDAS test because it is easy to overestimate or underestimate the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.

You might consider keeping a headache diary and recording your responses every day for three months; looking at your answers all together may help you notice some consistencies.

The questions used to score your level of disability are:

  1. On how many days in the last three months did you miss work or school because your headaches?
  2. How many days in the last three months was your productivity at work or school reduced by half or more because of your headaches? (Do not include days you counted in question 1 where you missed work or school.)
  3. On how many days in the last three months did you not do household work because of your headaches?
  4. How many days in the last three months was your productivity related to household work reduced by half of more because of your headaches? (Do not include days you counted in question 3 where you did not do household work.)
  5. On how many days in the last three months did you miss family, social, or leisure activities because of your headaches?

The MIDAS questionnaire also includes two other questions that are not used for calculating your score, but may help you and your doctor as you discuss your migraine treatment plan. 

  • On how many days in the last three months did you have a headache? (If a headache lasted more than a day, count each day.)
  • On a scale of 0 to 10, on average, how painful were these headaches? (0 = no pain at all and 10 = the worst pain you can imagine.)

Interpreting Results

Once you’ve answered the questions, you can calculate your disability score by adding up the total number of days for each of the five questions.

Your score is graded as:

  • 0 to 5: MIDAS grade I, little or no disability
  • 6 to 10: MIDAS grade II, mild disability
  • 11 to 20: MIDAS grade III, moderate disability
  • 21 or higher: MIDAS grade IV, severe disability

Keep in mind that your MIDAS disability score can be used for treatment planning, not for health insurance authorization, worker's compensation, or any other monetary, employment, or school-related purposes.

A Word From Verywell

The MIDAS questionnaire is a short test that can provide insight about how your headaches impact your daily life. Objective numbers can be helpful in providing you with clear information about your headaches, ensuring that you and your doctor are on the same page when it comes to discussing your migraines, and assessing the improvement or worsening of your migraines over time.

Interestingly, the MIDAS test has been used in several countries and has been translated into a number of languages with consistent reliability across cultures.

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