Search our list of clinics and learn more about headache clinics, including how to be referred
What is a headache clinic?
This page explains the role of headache 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.
A headache 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 headache 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 headache clinics to group together different types of NHS headache services including:
- Dedicated headache clinics
- Children’s headache 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 headache clinic?
All NHS headache 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 headache 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.
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 preventive 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.
Our headache 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.
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Headache Clinic, Aylesbury HP21 8AL
- Telephone number: 01494 315689
- Note: Managed by Dr Mark Weatherall, Consultant Neurologist. A botox clinic for chronic migraine patients aged 16+
Headache Clinic, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, CB2 0QQ
- Website: www.cuh.org.uk
- Telephone number: 01223 245 151
- Note: For adults aged 18+ via GP or neurology referral
Development Centre (Box 107), Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, CB2 0QQ
- Website: www.cuh.org.uk
- Telephone number: 01223 274 250
- Note: For patients 2-16 years from Cambridgeshire via GP, paediatrician or parent referral
Headache Service, Neurology Department, Penrith Hospital, CA11 8HX
- Website: www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/our-services/specialist-services/neurology
- Telephone number: 01768 245 500
- Note: A consultant led service for patients aged 16+ in Cumbria. Regular patient meetings are organised by the Cumbria Headache Forum
Exeter Headache Clinic, St Thomas Health Centre, Cowick Street, EX4 1HJ
- Website: www.exeterheadacheclinic.org.uk
- Telephone number: 01392 676 679
- Note: Adults 18+ in Devon CCG via GP referral. GP led service
Neurosciences Department, Derriford Hospital, Derriford Road, Crownhill, PL6 8DH
- Website: www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0845 155 8155
- Note: For patients over 16 in South West England via referral
Headache Clinic, Neurology Department, Torbay Hospital, Lowes Bridge, Torquay, Devon TQ2 7AA
- Website: www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01803 614567
- Note: Consultant neurologist & GP with a special interest in headache. 3 clinics per week, urgent appointments available. Provides Botox treatment
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, BH15 2JB
- Website: www.poole.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01202 665 511
- Note: A general neurology clinic for adults in Dorset via referral
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, BN2 5BE
- Website: www.bsuh.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01273 696 955
- Note: Patients aged 16+ in Brighton and Hove CCG via referral. GP led service
Headache clinic, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, Kemp Town, Sussex BN2 1ES
- Telphone number: 01273 523101
- Note: For patients aged 17+ • GP with a special interest in headache • Consultant neurologist • Botox clinic for chronic migraine
Neurology Department, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, GL1 3NN
- Website: www.gloshospitals.nhs.ukTelephone number: 0300 4226
- Note: For patients over 16 years in Gloucestershire and local counties via referral
Neurology Department, Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough Common, BR6 8ND
- Website: www.pruh.kch.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01689 865 872
- Note: For patients aged 16+ in the greater Bromley area via referral
Neurology Department, The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Pield Heath Road, Uxbridge, London UB8 3NN
- Telphone number: 01895279806
- Note: Consultant Neurologist
Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, W6 8RF
- Website: www.imperial.nhs.uk/services/neurologyTelephone number: 020 3311 1194
- Note: Patients aged 16+ from England and Wales via GP or neurology referral
Headache Clinic, Neurology Department, Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT
- Website: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/our-services/neurology/specialties/headache-clinic.aspx
- Telephone number: 020 7188 7188
Headache Service, INPUT Pain Management Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7EH
- Website: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/our-services/pain/input/overview.aspx
- Telephone number: 020 7188 7188
- Note: National service for adults via GP or neurology referral
The Headache Group (Box 80), National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, 8-11 Queen Square, WC1N 3BG
- Website: www.uclh.nhs.uk/OurServices/ServiceA-Z/Neuro/hsnhnn/HEADACHE/Pages/Home.aspx
- Telephone number: 020 3448 3664
- Note: National service for adults via referral
National Migraine Centre, 226 Walmer Road, W11 4ET
- Website: www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk
- Telephone number: 020 7251 3322
- Note: Registered medical charity, independent from the NHS. Patients can self-refer (charge applies) or seek NHS referral
Headache Service, Neurology Department, St George’s Hospital, Blackshaw Road, SW17 0QT
- Website: www.stgeorges.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0208 725 4322
- Note: For adults primarily in SW London and Surrey, but will accept referrals from anywhere in the UK
Headache Service, Neurology Department, King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 9RS
- Website: www.kch.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 020 3299 5096
- Note: National service for children and adults via GP, neurology or paediatrician referral
Neurology Department, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Whipps Cross Road, E11 1NR
- Webite: www.bartshealth.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 020 8539 5522
- Note: National service for patients 16+ via neurology referral
Paediatric Neurology, The Bays Building, St Mary’s Hospital, South Wharf Road, W2 1NY
- Website: www.imperial.nhs.uk/stmarys
- Telephone number: 020 3312 6953
- Note: Via consultant paediatrician referral
Children’s Headache Clinic, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Great Ormond Street, WC1N 3JH
- Website: www.gosh.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 020 7405 9200 ext. 0182
- Note: 0-18 years, national referrals from paediatrician or neurologist
Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Stott Lane, M6 8HD
- Website: www.srft.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0161 206 5875
- Note: National service for patients 16+ offering both tertiary neurologist-run and specialist nurse-run headache clinics via referral
Neurology Department, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Fountain Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 9RW
- Website: www.tamesidehospital.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0161 922 6000
- Note: A general neurology clinic for adults in Tameside and Glossop CCG via referral
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Lower Lane, Fazakerley, L9 7LJ
- Website: www.thewaltoncentre.nhs.ukTelephone number: 0151 529
- Note: National service for patients 16+ offering both a specialist nurse clinician service and consultant neurologists via referral
Migraine Clinic, Neurology Department, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, NR4 7UY
- Website: www.nnuhnhs.co.uk
- Telephone number: 01603 286 286
- Note: For adults in Norfolk and Suffolk via referral
Headache Clinic, Neurology Department, Kettering General Hospital, Rothwell Road, NN16 8UZ
- Website: www.kgh.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01536 492 000
- Note: For adults in Nene and Corby CCG via GP or neurology referral
Neurology Department, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Cliftonville, NN1 5BD
- Website: www.northamptongeneral.nhs.ukTelephone number:
- 01604 634 700
- Note: Patients aged 16+ from Northamptonshire or further afield via referral
Ulster Hospital, Upper Newtownards Road, Dundonald, Belfast BT16 1RH
- Website: www.setrust.hscni.net/2024.htm
- Note: Dr Louise Rusk (GP with a special interest in headache & migraine) runs the headache clinic every Monday
Paediatric Neurology, E Floor East Block, Queen’s Medical Centre, Derby Road, NG7 2UH
- Website: www.nuh.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0115 924 9924 ext. 63329
- Note: For patients 0-18 years in the East Midlands via paediatrician referral
Oxford Headache Centre, Level 3 West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, OX3 9DU
- Website: www.ouh.nhs.uk/services/referrals/neurosciences/headache.aspx
- Note: National service for adults via NHS referral
Headache Clinic, Allan Downie Unit, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, AB25 2ZN
- Website: www.nhsgrampian.org/neurology
- Note: Patients 16+ in NHS Grampian, Orkney, Shetland, Tayside and Highland via referral
Neurology Department, Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Stirling Road, Larbert, FK5 4WR
- Website: nhsforthvalley.com
- Telephone number: 01324 566 355
- Note: Dr Jonathan Begley (GP with a special interest in headache and migraine) runs the headache clinic every Wednesday. Referrals via GP
- Website: www.headlinesclinic.com
- Telephone number: 07540706797
- Note: Tertiary care. GP and self-referral. Headache nurse, Botox clinic for chronic migraine and psychological support
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, 1345 Govan Road, Govan, G51 4TF
- Website: www.nhsggc.org.uk
- Telephione number: 0141 201 1100
- Note: For adults in Glasgow via referral
Royal Hospital for Children, 1345 Govan Road, Govan, G51 4TF
- Website: www.nhsggc.org.uk
- Telephone number: 0141 4524 170
- Note: For patients under 16 years via referral
Headache Clinic, Neurology Department, Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, BA1 3NG
- Website: www.ruh.nhs.uk
- Note: Adults via GP or neurology referral. Patients also seen in Chippenham and Frome Community Hospitals
Cannock Headache Service, The Colliery Practice, 60 Hednesford Street, WS11 1DJ
- Website: www.thecollierypractice.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01543 435 390
- Note: A GP led service for patients in Stafford, Cannock and Rugeley via referral
Neurology Department, Easy Surrey Hospital, Redhill, RH1 5RH
- Website: www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01293 600 300
- Note: For patients over 16 years in Crawley CCG via referall. GP led service
Neurology Department, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, NE1 4LP
- Website: www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk
- Telephone number: 0191 282 6061
- Note: For patients aged 16+ via NHS referral
Neurology Department, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Kayll Road, SR4 7TP
- Website: www.chsft.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0191 565 6256
- Note: A headache clinic seeing adults via referral
Noah’s Ark Childrens Hospital, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park Way, Cardiff CF14 4XW
- Telephone number: 02920744291
- Note: Paediatric headache clinic up to 16 years of age
Neurosciences Department, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, CF14 4XW
- Website: www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 029 2074 7747
- Note: Patients over 16 years in Cardiff and Vale as well as elsewhere in South Wales if referred by consultant neurologist
Neurosciences, 4th Floor Central, University Hospital, Clifford Bridge Road, CV2 2DX
- Website: www.uhcw.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0247 6964 000
- Note: Patients over 15 years in Coventry and Rugby/North Warwickshire/South Warwickshire CCGs
Birmingham City Hospital, DGM Buildling, Dudley Road, B18 7QH
- Website: www.swbh.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 0121 507 5925
- Note: For patients 16+ in West Midlands. Run by a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Headache
Neurology Department, St Richard’s Hospital, Spitalfield Lane, PO19 6SE
- Website: www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01243 788 122
- Note: For patients aged 17+ in Western Sussex via referral
The Ridge Medical Centre, Cousen Road, Bradford, BD7 3JX
- Website: www.theridgemedicalpractice.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01274 425 600
- Note: A GP led service for patients 16+ in Bradford Districts CCG via referral
Headache Clinic, Neurology Department, Hull Royal Infirmary, Anlaby Road, HU3 2JZ
- Website: www.hey.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01482 675 591
- Note: Patients aged 10+ in East Riding of Yorkshire and NHS Hull CCG, via GP or neurology referral
Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, LS1 3EX
- Website: wwww.leedsth.nhs.uk
- Telephine number: 01132 432 799
- Note: For adults in Yorkshire via GP or neurology referral
The York Headache Clinic, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wigginton Road, YO31 8HE
- Website: www.yorkhospitals.nhs.uk
- Telephone number: 01904 725 751
- Note: For patients aged 16+ in Vale of York CCG via referral
Do you run a headache clinic?
Health professionals can submit details of NHS headache services here.