Did you already forget that one of your resolutions was to start a migraine diary this year? That’s OK, its not too late to start this important drug free migraine-fighting project. Are you technologically savvy, creatively inspired or functionally pragmatic? Choosing the tool that fits your lifestyle best. This way you are most likely to stick with it, and use the tracking process to enhance your migraine treatment protocol. The best journal will be one the fits conveniently into your daily routine and includes as much relevant information as possible. So where to begin?
- Small notebook – The traditional notebook and pen can work well to journal your headaches if you typically use this method to organize your thoughts and projects. Moleskin and designer versions can add a fashionable flair.
- Digital calendar – While your desktop computer calendar works well to track your daily to-dos, it will probably be less practical for tracking migraine symptoms during an attack or information while you’re on the go. Using a calendar on your smartphone can be more convenient.
- Apps – The iTunes store, Amazon and Google offer several Android and iOS headache and migraine diaries that could work well; especially those that allow for customization.
- Voice recorder – Speaking into your smartphone’s voice recorder can be especially convenient for logging information when you are not able to type or write. In the throes of a migraine or while driving a car are two examples of situations where this tool beats typing or writing.
- Signs – Aura and other warning indicators.
- Pain – Location, description (e.g. pain, stabbing, throbbing) and severity.
- Frequency – How often do headaches strike and for how long do they last?
- Symptoms – Description of pain, vision impairment, nausea, dizziness, fatigue etc.
- Preventative and pain medications taken and how they worked.
- Supplements and vitamins.
- Drug free therapies like mind/body practice, exercise, acupuncture, massage etc.
Environment and Lifestyle Triggers
- Weather prior to the onset of headaches.
- Stressful conditions prior to a migraine.
- Sleep patterns and problems.
- Work environment such as lighting, air quality and noise level.
- Food triggers (i.e. what did you eat before a migraine and meal schedule.)
- How much water consumed daily.
Don’t worry about choosing the perfect notebook, calendar or mobile app. Just be sure to stick with your New Year’s resolution and track your headache migraine information including drug free migraine therapies, lifestyle and migraine symptoms. This information will help you and your healthcare specialist fine-tune your migraine treatment plan. Like all new habits, it may take a while to get used to logging all this information, and at times you might slip. During an attack it will be especially challenging but well worth the effort.