Keeping a Migraine Diary

There was a point in my life where my migraines were out of control. Nobody told me to keep track of anything, even my doctor. It started small, tracking what I ate and the ingredients in my food led me to discover my food triggers. This made me want to know what else might be triggering them.

I found an excellent way to learn more about my migraines was to keep a migraine diary using a notebook. (Apps weren’t even a thing back then.) It was simple to begin with and I got more detailed as I started to figure things out. I noticed when I was dehydrated, the attacks were more frequent. When work was particularly stressful, I always had a weekend migraine. Very unfair.

A simple, straightforward diary can be helpful, but the more detailed you are, the more likely you are to discover patterns. Do you get a migraine when you eat a certain food? When a big storm is coming or when you haven’t gotten enough sleep?

Keep your diary with you at all times. Write down everything, no matter how small and do it now - don't depend on your memory.

Some things to track

  • How long you sleep. Is it restless or solid?

  • What you eat and when. Do you skip meals?

  • How much water you drink

  • Date and time you had a headache/migraine and how long did it last?

  • What did the head pain feel like? Throbbing, stabbing or a sharp sensation?

  • Where was the pain located? Is it located on one side of your head, on the top, on your forehead, or behind one eye?

  • What symptoms did you experience before, during and after the head pain?

  • What do you think triggered your migraine?

  • What were you doing right before the migraine started?

  • What was going on in your environment before the migraine? Was it very hot? Was there a storm coming? Was it very noisy?

I hope you will find as much success as I did in using this method. While there are now apps to track everything, a simple spreadsheet or notebook will do just as well.

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