Coping with Migraine and Sensory Overload

Coping with Migraine and Sensory Overload

My Experience with Migraines and Sensory Overload

Dealing with migraine attacks and sensory overload has been a challenging journey for me. When I experience a migraine attack, I find it incredibly difficult to handle sensory stimuli. The heightened sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and touch can be overwhelming. These sensory overload symptoms not only intensify the pain, but also impact my daily life and overall well-being.

Understanding Migraine Attacks and Sensory Overload

Migraine attacks are recurrent headaches characterized by intense pain. They are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Sensory overload, in the context of migraine attacks, refers to the heightened sensitivity experienced during an attack. It means that everyday sensory inputs can become overwhelming and exacerbate the pain and discomfort.

The Importance of Tracking Symptoms

Tracking symptoms is crucial for understanding individual triggers and patterns. By identifying specific triggers for migraine attacks and recognizing the impact of sensory overload on frequency and severity, I can better manage my condition. Additionally, keeping a detailed record of symptoms and their duration helps me assess the effectiveness of different coping strategies during attacks.

For example, by tracking my symptoms, I noticed that bright fluorescent lights triggered my migraine attacks more frequently. Armed with this knowledge, I made adjustments to my environment by using natural lighting or soft, dim lighting to reduce the trigger. This simple change has significantly reduced the frequency of my migraine attacks and the associated sensory overload.

How to Track Symptoms

When it comes to tracking symptoms, I have found two main methods: traditional pen-and-paper journaling and digital apps or online platforms. Both have their advantages. Traditional journaling allows for a more personal and reflective process, while digital options offer easy access and storage of records, as well as the ability to generate reports and analyze data.

For those who prefer the convenience and efficiency of technology, there are numerous migraine tracking apps available. These apps often provide additional features such as weather tracking and trigger analysis, which can provide valuable insights into the relationship between sensory stimuli and migraine attacks.

The Benefits of Recording Symptom Changes

Recording symptom changes has several benefits. Firstly, it helps in identifying patterns and triggers. By consistently tracking my symptoms, I have noticed common triggers for migraine attacks and sensory overload. This has allowed me to make lifestyle adjustments to minimize exposure to these triggers. For example, I discovered that certain strong smells, such as perfume, triggered my migraine attacks. By avoiding these triggers and opting for unscented products, I have been able to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of my migraine attacks.

Secondly, recording symptoms empowers me with knowledge. I have learned which coping strategies and treatments work best for me, allowing me to make informed decisions regarding my own care. For instance, through symptom tracking, I found that practicing yoga and engaging in relaxation techniques significantly helped in managing sensory overload during migraine attacks. Armed with this knowledge, I prioritize these activities to alleviate symptoms.

Finally, recording symptoms enhances communication with healthcare professionals. When I provide accurate and detailed information during medical consultations, it helps them make more accurate diagnoses and adjustments to my treatment plan. Sharing my symptom records with my doctor has allowed us to work together to develop a tailored approach that addresses both the migraine attacks and the sensory overload.

The Challenges of Recording Symptom Changes

While tracking symptoms has its benefits, there are also challenges to consider. It requires a time commitment and consistency. Dedication to documenting symptoms regularly is necessary to gain meaningful insights. Finding a routine and making symptom tracking a part of my daily habit has helped me overcome this challenge.

Symptom recording can also be subjective and variable. As migraine symptoms can vary widely from person to person, accurately assessing and quantifying pain and sensory experiences can be challenging. It is important to be aware of individual differences in symptom perception. Utilizing descriptive language and rating scales can help provide a standardized measure of symptoms.

Lastly, it is essential to strike a balance between symptom tracking and self-care. While monitoring symptoms is important, it is equally important not to become overly focused on tracking at the expense of engaging in activities that promote overall well-being. Taking breaks, practicing self-care, and engaging in stress-reducing activities are equally important for managing migraine attacks and sensory overload.

When to Record Symptom Changes

I have found it helpful to record symptom changes both during and between migraine attacks. During an attack, I take quick notes about symptom changes, including the effectiveness of medications and treatments, the duration of symptom relief, and any side effects experienced. This information helps me track the efficacy of different interventions and make informed decisions about my treatment plan.

Between attacks, I reflect on triggers and patterns during pain-free periods. This helps me recognize trends in symptom occurrence and identify specific triggers from my daily activities and environments. By identifying these triggers, I can make proactive changes to my lifestyle and environment to minimize their impact.

Utilizing Symptom Tracking for Effective Coping

By analyzing data and identifying trends from my symptom tracking records, I can assess the overall impact of sensory stimuli on the frequency and severity of my migraine attacks. This allows me to make connections between my migraine attacks and specific triggers. Armed with this knowledge, I can tailor coping strategies and preventive measures to minimize sensory overload.

For example, if I notice that stress is a common trigger for my migraine attacks, I can implement stress-management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises to reduce the impact of sensory overload during stressful situations. By proactively addressing triggers, I can effectively cope with migraine attacks and minimize the accompanying sensory overload.


Tracking symptom changes during migraine attacks and sensory overload is key to managing these conditions effectively. Recording detailed information empowers me to make informed decisions about my care, helps me identify triggers and patterns, and enhances communication with healthcare professionals. While there are challenges to symptom tracking, the benefits far outweigh them. By utilizing the data I collect, I can develop effective coping strategies and improve my overall quality of life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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