There are four basic parts of effective Migraine and headache management:
- Trigger identification and management.
- Preventing as many Migraines and headaches as possible.
- Aborting Migraine attacks as quickly and effectively as possible.
- Rescue -- medications kept on hand and plans made for when part #3 fails.
One of the most helpful tools for you and your doctors is a Headache and Migraine Diary. It will be useful to track triggers, the effectiveness of medications, and any patterns to your Migraines and headaches. There are many ways to do this, but for the purpose of your doctor reviewing it, printed pages are usually preferable to a bound journal. Some doctors also like to keep copies in patient charts. I'm always careful to take copies of my diary pages that track from the time of my previous visit.
Especially if you're just starting to investigate your triggers, you may want to track additional information such as what you've eaten, the weather, your sleep patterns, etc. in a notebook on a daily basis for awhile.
A diary does nobody any good if it's not used, so I've put together some various diary options for you.
- The first diary format is the one I call the "basic diary." This is a form I developed while working with my first real Migraine specialist.
- For those of you who have pretty complicated days of multiple symptoms, multiple medications, etc., the daily format may work well for you.
- The monthly format works well if you're down to only a few Migraines or headaches a month. It's also a good summary diary. You can take your primary diary and summarize it on a monthly format. This may be very helpful if your doctor wants some details, but not as many as you want to record for yourself.
At the end of the workbook, you'll find a page to jot down questions that may occur to you during a Migraine or headache. Writing them down then and there will help ensure that you remember to take them to the doctor at your next appointment.
Whatever you do, keep learning as much about your Migraines and / or headaches as you can. That knowledge will help you work better with your doctor as a treatment partner where he or she makes decisions WITH you, not FOR you.
See more helpful articles:
Robert, Teri. "Living Well With Migraine Disease and Headaches: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You That You Need To Know." New York. HarperCollins. 2005.