Home > Managing Headaches > Keeping a Migraine Diary

Keeping a Migraine Diary

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 12 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Keeping A Migraine Diary

Migraines and headaches can sometimes follow certain patterns, which are dependent on what are known as 'triggers'. These triggers – although often shared by headache sufferers – are typically unique in that your own collective triggers and type of headache will be an individual challenge. Some people decide to keep a migraine and headache diary to help them find the triggers that seem to set off the cascade of physical effects leading up to a headache or migraine. For one person, it might be a certain food while for another, it could be stress-related. Still others might find that their headaches are set off by perfumes or similar fragrances.

Starting Your Diary To Identify Triggers

If you have considered a migraine or headache diary, you might feel overwhelmed wondering where to possibly start. Starting up the diary may be your first step in learning to manage your headaches or you may have exhausted all other efforts to prevent and treat headaches – perhaps you are now ready to pinpoint your personal triggers. To accomplish this task, you will need to keep the diary with you at all times, which will allow you to accurately record when your headaches or migraines occur as well as how long they last.

Creating a Personalised Migraine Or Headache Diary

To create your own personalised migraine or headache diary, you should have a full sheet of paper for each day. Consider creating the diary on your computer in a Microsoft Word document. This will allow you to make your own template that can print off and fill in each day. Important aspects include the time the headache began and when it ended. You should also make note of any warning signs such as whether there was an aura if you experienced a migraine. Try to be detailed about where the pain is located and what type of pain you experienced. Some people may have throbbing headaches while others will feel a constant pressure on their head. Also important is the intensity of the pain itself. Consider using a five-point or ten-point scale to describe and record the level of pain.

Ask yourself: Do I have any other symptoms? You might experience nausea or sensitivity to light, for instance. Take note of any medications or similar treatments you are taking, particularly if you take them on a regular basis. Many drugs can cause headaches or trigger migraines. Think about how much sleep you get each night and what you ate or drank shortly before experiencing the headache or migraine. It could be that caffeine or food additives are triggering head pain.

Another important aspect of your life that should be noted is whether you experienced any stressful events during the day. If you find that head pain seems to occur after an argument or other stressful event, you can be proactive and take steps to deal with stress before it causes headaches. Try to leave a bit of a blank space to add any additional comments or thoughts on your headaches or migraines for that particular day. Sometimes, it can be a random insight that seemingly comes from nowhere, which can help you to find what is triggering your headaches or migraines.

Becoming Free Of Headaches And Migraines

With your new headache and migraine diary, you will hopefully soon be able to keep a record to identify your own personal triggers. Once you have done so, you can try to eliminate or reduce your exposure to triggers. Some triggers may be easier to avoid, such as low blood sugar. In this case, you could ensure you eat regular, healthy meals and that you don't go too long without at least a snack.

Other triggers may be more difficult to avoid, such as people in the workplace who wear strong perfumes. While many workplaces now recognise that people can be sensitive to fragrance and thus, they operate policies of scent-free products, the vast majority still need some 'modernising'. You can always speak to management and suggest a scent-free policy. Whatever your trigger, by taking the time to use a headache and migraine diary to identify your challenges, you can take action and soon reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches or migraines.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Julieregan
    Re: Headaches and Migraines in Women
    I have an overactive thyroid gland and have had it since I was 40. I am using carbimazole tablets once daily. I struggle with…
    25 July 2017
  • holycow
    Re: Sinus Headaches
    my daughter has been diagnosed as suffering from a virus in the brain, how can she get rid of this pounding headache that never stops
    24 July 2017
  • JTV56
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Stells - I would - it doesn't harm and it's always best to be on the safe side. Jean.
    20 July 2017
  • Stells
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I fell backwards 2 weeks ago and hit my head on the pavement, initially it dud hurt and I had a headache the next day. I was on…
    19 July 2017
  • bree
    Re: Thyroid Disease and Headaches
    2011 March 27th migraine started after herniated disc c5/c6 had a formanectomy in 2012 after a conservation period under…
    12 July 2017
  • Tomba
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    My problem started about 15 days ago. The pain first started at the right side of the head including the right cheek, right ear and…
    6 July 2017
  • PrinDi
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    @Stinging Headpain - Poor you, it sounds genuinely awful. I hope you get better soon and manage to resolve all these awful…
    4 July 2017
  • Stinging Headpain
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Oops...My pain is on top of left side of my head. It feels like my head is on fire sometimes..I have also tried a chiropractor.…
    3 July 2017
  • Stinging Headpain
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I have been in pain off and on for 11 years...The first bout of pain lasted for 6 months..It will stop for a few months and start…
    3 July 2017
  • HeadacheExpert
    Re: Herbal Remedies for Headache and Migraine Relief
    Ummnoor - Your Question:If you have had an MRI (CTS?) scan and nothing unusual has been found then the…
    3 July 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HeadacheExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.