Anyone who frequently suffers from headaches will benefit a lot from using a headache diary. This is one of the best tools a doctor can use to pinpoint the triggers or causes of a patient’s headaches. Although some triggers are very obvious, there are others which doctors can’t pinpoint right away. But with a headache log, a doctor can examine the information to reach a proper diagnosis.
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Printable Headache Diary
What to keep track of in a diary
A headache diary is an excellent tool for doctors and patients in helping them understand and manage their headaches better. Keeping note of important details in the headache or migraine chart can aid a doctor in the diagnosis of a patient’s pain. Then he can suggest treatments for headache or lifestyle changes to experience relief.
If you plan to keep a headache or migraine log, you need to keep track of the following information:
Whenever you experience a headache, write down the date, the time when the headache began, and the time when it ended. For women, if you always experience headaches around the time when their period comes, take note of this too. This might be an indication of a menstrual migraine.
Warning symptoms and signs
When your headache started, did it come with other symptoms like throbbing, vomiting, vision problems, and the like? If so, you should also take note of how long it took before these symptoms. This information is very important, especially if you want your doctor to come up with a diagnosis.
Type of headache
Describe the type of pain you’re feeling. Is it dull, blinding, splitting, throbbing, stabbing or piercing? Is the headache constant or does it come in waves? This information is also important for the diagnosis of your condition.
The intensity of the pain
For this information, you can rate your pain from 1-10.
Location of the pain
Take note of where the source of the pain is. This can be in a specific location like between your eyes, at the back of your head or in other areas.
Medication you’ve taken or headache treatment you’ve tried
If you took any kind of medication because of the headache, indicate it in your headache chart. Also, indicate any other kind of treatment you tried to find relief from the pain.
Effect of the medication or treatment
After taking medication or trying any kind of treatment, how did this affect your headache? Did you experience relief right away or did it take time before the pain went away? Either way, take note of these details in your headache diary.
Length and quality of sleep
You should also write down how many hours you slept the night before the headache started and describe the quality of your sleep. This may have an effect on the headache you’re feeling.
Details about your diet
Write down all of the foods and beverages you consumed before the pain started in your headache log too. To be more specific, write down the foods and drinks you consumed the day before as well.
The activity you performed before the headache
Think about what you did before you had a headache. Did you just experience a lot of stress? Did you just finish your daily workout routine? Whatever the activity was, include this in the migraine chart.
Headache Diary Templates
Benefits of keeping a diary
You can update your headache or migraine log as often as you want. This depends on how your doctor wants to approach the situation. But the more details your headache chart contains, the more helpful and effective it will be for your doctor. According to the experts, you must write down all relevant information.
It’s especially important to write down any unusual occurrences as these might be the cause of your headache. Here are some of the benefits of keeping a diary:
Gives you important information about your headaches
After some time, you can review the entries in your diary to see if there’s a pattern for your headaches. If you don’t consciously try to determine the cause of your headaches, the information you jot down can help you out. You may start seeing patterns or common triggers which occur before your headaches begin.
They’re suitable for people of any age
The great thing about a headache log is that anyone can keep one. Adults can keep their own diary and parents can also keep a headache chart for their children. This helps make diagnoses a lot easier, especially if the diary contains a lot of details.
It empowers you
Headache and migraine pain often makes people feel powerless, especially when the pain interferes with their tasks. Without knowing what causes these headaches, you might feel like you’re losing control of your body. But when you keep a migraine chart, you can start finding out more about your condition.
You can also keep track of your progress
If you keep maintaining the diary even after you’ve consulted with your doctor, you can use it to monitor your progress. After the treatment or after following your doctor’s advice, have you noticed a reduction in the frequency of your headaches? If not, you may want to try other treatments or medications.
Provides you with clues about the headaches you experience
Keeping some kind of log or diary about your headaches helps you learn more about them. You can see the triggers, the patterns, and more, all of which help you prepare for when you start feeling of experiencing them.
Also, you can avoid these triggers when you know about them compared to when you have no idea about the details of your headaches. If you also include information about the types of treatment or medications which work for your headaches, you already know what to do when they occur.
Headache Diary Examples
Creating a headache diary template
There are several headache or migraine logs which you can download and start using right away. Or you can make your own template on a word processing software of your choice. The important thing is that you make sure to include all of the information you need on the diary.
It doesn’t matter if you use a basic template with a simple design. If it accommodates all of the relevant information you need, then it becomes highly effective. But there’s no use in creating a template full of images and bright colors which you won’t use because you don’t understand it or it’s incomplete.
To create your headache diary template, here are some pointers for you:
- Download a template or create one on your own and customize it as needed. Print out the template and attach it to a notebook or a binder, something which you carry around with you wherever you go.
- The template must contain a table with enough columns to include the following information and more:
- Date and time of the headache (start and finish).
- Level of pain.
- Symptoms before, during, and after the headache.
- Medications you took or treatments you tried.
- The effectiveness of the medications or treatments.
- You may also include columns for the triggers you suspect might be the cause of your headaches.
- If you’re serious about keeping a headache chart, make sure to include all possible information to help you and your doctor learn more about your headaches. If one page isn’t enough, you can continue by creating another page for your template.
- Also, include spaces or lines for you to write down notes, descriptions or details about your headaches. Remember, the more details you include, the better.
- After finalizing your template, you can start using it as soon as possible. Don’t forget to save your template so that when you’ve completed the one you printed, you can print out another one to continue monitoring your headaches.
Maintaining your headache diary
As aforementioned, a headache log can be a very important tool to help doctors come up with a diagnosis and a proper course of treatment for his patient’s headaches. Doctors can use the diary to map out all of the details and characteristics of the headaches his patients experience including the intensity, duration, frequency, and more.
A log can also help identify related symptoms and potential triggers. You can also use them to keep track of the medication dosage you use and the effectiveness of these medications. There are several ways you can maintain your headache diary. Each time you feel a headache coming, record all of the details about it on the template.
Whether you create the template or download one, maintaining it is of the utmost importance. Even if you experience a headache and you don’t have your diary on-hand, you can write the details on a piece of paper then transfer the information on the diary when you get home.
This is especially true if you frequently experience headaches and you don’t know why. Maintaining the diary allows you to seek proper treatment and make adjustments to your treatment as needed.