Migraine Diary advice and instructions
We suggest that you save the migraine diary file on your computer or print out enough now. The diary is set out for 31 days. Start by filling in the month on top of the page. When you get an attack, find the corresponding date and fill in the row across as fully as you can.
Because there is not much room here, we suggest that you use a abbreviations to record the attacks. Under the heading of ‘Symptoms’, you could use ‘V’ for ‘Visual distortions’ or ‘V30’ for ‘Visual Distortions lasting 30 minutes’. ‘N’ could represent ‘Nausea’ and ‘L’ could represent ‘Sensitivity to Light’.
Under ‘Medication’, don’t forget to include ALL medication that you have taken, including aspirin, paracetamol etc.
Again, abbreviate the name of the drug for simplicity – ‘P’ for paracetamol for example. You can apply the same principle to all of the information and come up with a system that works for you.
It is not necessary to write down preventative medications.
When rating the headache pain score 1 means that your headache has had no real impact on your ability to carry out a normal day, while 10 represents an attack so debilitating that you were unable to go about your business as normal at all – perhaps you were confined to bed etc.
There are countless potential trigger factors and they differ for everybody, so you will have to pay close attention to lifestyle, environmental and dietary factors in the 48 hours preceding the attack.
Some of the most common triggers include: Lack of food, missed meals, delayed meals, specific foods (commonly cheese, coffee, citrus foods, fizzy drinks to name a few), onset of menstruation, noise, strong smells, stress, anxiety, lack of/ too much sleep, excess exercise, travel, excitement, bad news, light, weather, fatigue, alcohol.
Remember, the list is not exclusive. Remember also that food is not the only aspect that you should watch carefully. The vast majority of attacks (about 80%) are brought on by non-dietary factors. Make a note of anything that you may even vaguely suspect.
The migraine diary also monitors the success or failure of treatments and medications. Have the attacks become less frequent since you started taking a certain medicine? Are they less severe? Are there side effects? The migraine diary provides you with a tool to answer all these questions if you use it accurately.