Why You Should Track Migraines – The Benefits of Keeping a Migraine Diary
Migraines can be debilitating to the point where you miss work, commitments and generally avoid things. If you feel like you need to stop your attacks from affecting every single aspect of your life, it’s time to start tracking them carefully and manage them well.
Keeping track of your attacks is one of the most efficient ways to reduce migraine impact. When you gain a full insight into what’s triggering your attacks, you’ll be able to control them as much as possible. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
The benefits of tracking your attacks are plenty. For more information, read this helpful guide and start your road to recovery today.
Main Benefits Of Migraine Tracking
If you decide to start a headache diary, Migraine Buddy (available on iOS and Android) can help you out. It’s a headache tracking app with many useful features. It’s free, easy to use, very reliable, and developed with the help of migraine world experts and neurologists. With the help of the app, you can keep track of migraine symptoms, triggers, relief methods, and many other things.
Recording each migraine attack in a digital journal such as Migraine Buddy will help you learn more about your condition. It will provide you with the necessary insight and information to help you manage your attacks.
Living with migraines can be difficult, but tracking them rigorously may provide you with the necessary information that makes it easier, like which triggers to avoid, which treatments are working for you, how to manage the pain, and so on.
These are the main benefits you get from keeping a migraine journal or using a headache app like Migraine Buddy.
Identifying frequent triggers
One of the main benefits of tracking your attacks is that it allows you to find out your triggers. These can vary depending on your lifestyle and environment, but they generally include:
- Skipped meals
- Bright light
- Physical exertion
- Loud noise
- Lack of sleep
For some people, recognizing their triggers may not be that difficult, but for most, it’s a challenge for at least 2 reasons. 1) a trigger is not always a trigger: sometimes lack of sleep will cause a migraine and sometimes not. 2) a trigger can actually be a combination of events: alcohol alone will not initiate a migraine, but in combination with a skipped meal, yes.
This is why keeping meticulous track of your attacks is essential. It will help you better understand the triggers so you can steer clear of them.
Understanding migraine symptoms better
When you use a migraine tracking app, it records all details related to a migraine attack, such as migraine triggers, frequency, duration, pain intensity, menstrual cycle and others. Importantly, it also tracks your symptoms of an upcoming migraine.
Some of the information, like your symptoms, needs to be entered manually, but the rest will be picked up by the app, like the weather, light intensity, barometric pressure, ambient noise, and so forth.
Over time, you’ll be able to make out patterns such as hormonal changes, weather changes, and other variables that affect or trigger your attacks. As a result, you’ll get a holistic understanding of your triggers and symptoms, for free.
Making most out of medical visits
Keeping a migraine diary will be most useful for medical appointments. All the details about each migraine episode like triggers, symptoms and duration, will help your doctor evaluate your status and the effectiveness of your current treatment.
One could argue that you can just tell your doctor all about your attacks on the spot. However, this could result in an inaccurate description of each migraine. You may not be able to remember all the aspects of your attacks, or you could inadvertently feed your doctor false information, which could lead to poor medical advice diagnosis.
All in all, a migraine log will make each medical visit easier and more efficient for both you and your doctor, and you will receive proper advice diagnosis or treatment.
Finding out treatment effectiveness
Gathering accurate data during a treatment period will assist your doctor in determining the effectiveness of the treatment. If you record for every attack, how a relief method has helped you, the doctor will be able to adapt your prescription and save a lot of time, rather than by blind trials and errors.
Sure, you can also say the prescribed treatment hasn’t been working for you, but when you provide the accompanying data from your journal, your doctor will know the exact effect treatment has had on your condition. If necessary, they may come up with other treatments based on your personal needs.
They will gain insight into the level of the pain, the frequency, duration, and other significant information that tells them how certain medication affects you and your attack episodes.
Based on this, your doctor can create a new course of treatment they deem will be more effective. With this process of elimination, you can discover which treatment works best for your and your particular case.
You will also find out which medication to avoid. Some treatments simply don’t work for everybody, so this is an excellent way to determine which one works for you.
How To Track Migraine Triggers?
What are some efficient ways to keep tabs on your attacks?
Many things can act as triggers of migraine attacks, and one of the best ways to stay on top of your attacks is to take action and start writing everything down.
Practice these few easy steps to track migraine data.
- Write down all the triggers
Record all potential triggers – even if you’re not sure they are responsible for your attacks. Over time, you’ll be able to tell which are possible and which are improbable triggers. Migraine Buddy is capable of sorting them out and letting you know your top three triggers.
- Track all your headache episodes
Keep an eye on all the headaches you experience. Many times, a headache can progress into a migraine, and some people write it down as a trigger. It’s clever to record all your headaches in the journal, even those that don’t turn into a migraine, so you know how often a headache leads to an episode.
Don’t forget to keep track of your sleep patterns. If you don’t get much sleep, especially over a long period, it may lead to you experiencing migraine symptoms.
What To Track?
What exactly should you write down in your tracker? There are quite a lot of useful details that you should record. For instance:
- When the migraine started
- The intensity of the pain on a scale of 1 to 10
- The exact location of the pain
- How long the migraine lasted
- Whether any aura or sensations occurred before the migraine
- The appearance of any other symptoms – nausea, vomiting, numbness, weakness, sensitivity to smells or light
- What you ate and drank that day
- What you did that day
- What is the impact of the migraine on your life (go to work, school, excercise, or social activities)
- Where you are in your menstrual cycle
- Did you take any medications, if so – when, and how much of it
- Whether the medications helped you or not
- How long did the effect of the medication last
- If you used any home remedies or other relief methods (e.g. rest in a dark room)
These are some of the basics you should cover in your tracker.
Weather is another important factor, and Migraine Buddy will track it for you each time a migraine starts through your set location. You can record any weather observations of your own too.
Sleep is not to be dismissed either – Migraine Buddy can automatically track your sleeping patterns and may help you understand how they affect your attacks.
Once you have enough knowledge about each migraine and headache you’ve experienced recently, presenting it to your doctor will get you the best possible medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The Bottom Line
Living a life free of migraines sounds amazing. Though not everyone will achieve that, you can come close with the help of headache tracking apps. MigraineBuddy is an app that helps people get a full insight into their health. It provides necessary information to make living with a migraine easier and more convenient.
If you want to find out what are the main triggers of each migraine attack, it’s time to start tracking them.
The only way you’ll be able to relieve the pain over time is to learn all about your condition, collect much-needed information, provide it to your doctor to help them propose you the best treatment for your personal needs.
Discover your attack triggers with Migraine Buddy and join the Migraine Buddy community today!