Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your doctor has at least a little advanced and current training in headache disorders? It would be nice, but it’s actually something that’s very hard to implement.
Would you want a standardized worldwide or countrywide standard, enforced by local governments? Who would decide on the qualifications? Or a standard from a group you trust? That wouldn’t be nearly as widespread, and many excellent specialists would be left out.
There are those who are trying to fill the gap. Here are a couple of examples from the United States.
One is the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS). The UCNS is a non-profit organization that awards certification to doctors who meet certain current requirements. Headache medicine is one of their specific subspecialties. You can actually get an idea what their requirements look like by visiting their Headache Medicine Certification page.
The Migraine Research Foundation maintains a list of UCNS certified doctors in the USA, showing who specialized in which age group. Just visit Doctors Certified in Headache Medicine.
The National Headache Foundation also provides certification, called the Certificate in Added Qualification (CAQ) in Headache Medicine. This certification is also based on current knowledge, and is open not only to medical doctors but also advanced practice nurses, dentists, D.O.s, psychologists, and physician’s assistants.
If you fall into any of these categories, you can read more about CAQ here.
The National Headache Foundation has a list that includes both CAQ and UCNS certification. There are some doctors who even have both certifications. The list is maintained here: Healthcare Provider Finder.
Certification is knowledge based, and does not guarantee that you will like the doctor, or even that they will be a good doctor. However, it does help to demonstrate a basic knowledge that, unfortunately, many doctors and even specialists do not have.
Also remember, this type of certification isn’t even available everywhere. There are many excellent doctors who are not, for whatever reason, board certified in this way.