How to Keep a Headache Diary - Better Health Solutions

How to Keep a Headache Diary

How to Keep a Headache Diary

Anyone who sufferers from headaches regularly rather than only sometimes should keep a headache diary. Not all headaches are the same. Noting down details of each headache can help you spot patterns and/or ‘triggers’ so you can take action to avoid headaches.

First, get a small notebook to write down information about each headache you have, or print out one of the blank headache diaries online to carry around with you. http://www.headaches.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/248072334-Headache-Diary-from-the-National-Headache-Foundation.pdf?x92687

Use an online tracker such as http://www.iheadache.com/, or try Smartphone tracker app such as iHeadache or Migraine Buddy.

Collect your data for at least a week or two to help you spot patterns. Then make an appointment with your regular doctor to discuss your findings. They should be able to determine if you have been experiencing migraines and if so, what might be triggering them.

What should you include in your headache diary?

There are lots of different ways to keep one, but here is a useful detailed format to use if you are trying to get to the bottom of your headaches to see if you can improve your overall health.

Date and time the headache started: (approximately)

Location I was at when the symptoms first started_______

What I was doing when the symptoms first started_______

List foods, drinks and/or medicines you consumed before the headache started.

Was it an ordinary headache, or a migraine?

Location of the headache/migraine pain-check off all that apply:

Forehead (the area directly above my eyes, to my hairline)         

right   

left      

entire forehead

Temples

right   

left      

both

Eyes/around the eyes

right   

left      

both

The crown or top of my head

right

left

center

all

The back of my head

left

center

all

The base of the skull

right

left

center

all

Jaw

right

left

center

all

Neck

right

left

center

all

Other areas that hurt-specify (example, shoulder, stomach):

1-

2-

3-

The nature of the pain experienced

The best words to describe the pain in each area I had it was:

pounding

throbbing

aching

stabbing

pulsing

other – describe

Write down your chosen word next to each of the areas you listed above.

The level of pain I experienced, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 the least pain and 10 the most severe pain

__________

The level of disability I experience, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being minimum impact on my activities of daily living, to 10, impact so severe I could not function

__________

Other symptoms

I had trouble with my vision/sensed an aura or glow:

Yes

No

I felt sensitive to light:

Yes

No

I had trouble with sound/noises

Yes

No

I had trouble with strange smells

Yes

No

I had trouble with strange tastes

Yes

No

Other symptoms

I felt nauseous

Yes

No

I was so nauseous I vomited

Yes

No


I vomited ____ times in total, about

_ minutes apart (example)

I vomited 2 times, about 4 hours apart

I vomited all day for 8 hours

What I did to try to relieve the pain (list them):

1-

2-

3-

etc

These actions worked best to relieve the pain:

List them:

1-

2-

3-

etc

This migraine lasted around ________ hours in total

What I suspect might have triggered this migraine

Food

Weather

monthly cycle (period)

pressure at work

Sunlight/light

Loud noise, such as a concert or club

Other:__________

Other:__________

Try to be as detailed as possible. Once you have a record of all your data, make a few copies to give to your doctor and any practitioner he might refer you to, such as a headache specialist or neurologist. You should soon be able to get to the bottom of your headaches, for effective treatment.

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