Though we have a standard list of migraine symptoms, each individual experience varies slightly from the next. Keeping track of your symptoms through a headache diary is critical to your individual treatment plan. This blog will review how the information gathered in headache diaries can help make migraines more manageable.
What is a Headache Diary?
A headache diary is a record that helps map out the characteristics of your headaches and what led up to them that day. There are many ways to record this information, such as a preprinted form, a regular calendar, or a notebook. You can also download an app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
A headache diary can include information on a range of things. Here are some examples of essential information to include:
- Date and time
- Day of the week
- How long the attack lasted
- Severity- This can be recorded on a scale of 1-10, or as mild, moderate, or severe.
- Symptoms you experience along with the headache. For example, if you have dizziness, vertigo, sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.
- The medication you take, including all doses.
- Other things you may think are helpful such as medication side effects, sleep disturbances, etc.
How Headache Diaries are Used to Manage Migraines
The longer you track your migraine symptoms, the more you can get out of your headache journal. Over time, patterns may begin to appear. Sharing this information with your provider ultimately helps to improve your treatment strategy. They can also:
- Aid your doctor in making a diagnosis for those without one.
- Use the patterns to recognize triggers and warning signs better before a migraine starts so you can reduce exposure to them. This can reduce the frequency of attacks and allow you to recognize when one is about to happen so you can take steps to prevent a migraine or reduce the severity of one.
- Help your provider assess whether your acute or preventive medication is working.
More importantly, a headache diary is a tool you can use to advocate for yourself and play a direct role in better understanding and managing your migraines.
If you or a loved one are living with migraines, clinical research studies may help. To apply, call Charlottesville Medical Research at (434) 817-2442 or visit our website today!