What Causes Your Migraines
Learning how to avoid migraines is just as important as learning how to treat them. One of the biggest challenges is identifying your triggers—the things that lead to a migraine. Migraine triggers tend to be unique to each person.
A migraine journal is a place to keep notes about your migraines: when they happen, what the symptoms are, how severe they get, how you treat them, and whether the treatments are effective. Collecting all this information will help you learn the best ways to prevent and treat your migraines.
The first step in using a migraine journal is deciding what kind of journal to use. If you want to use your smartphone, there are some great apps for keeping a migraine journal, such as the Migraine Buddy app. There is also an online migraine journal available for free on the Migraine Trust website. The advantage of using an app to track your migraines is that a lot of analysis is done automatically for you. The disadvantage is that you may find them difficult to use while you are having a migraine, and valuable information could be lost.
Using a pen and paper to keep your migraine journal is a tried-and-true method. If you use a loose-leaf binder rather than a standard notebook, you can start a new journal entry on any available piece of paper and add it to the journal later. This is really useful for analyzing your migraines too, because you can take out the pages and sort them in various ways to look for patterns in your migraines.
If you are going to use this “old-fashioned” medium for creating your migraine journal, here is the method I recommend:
1. When you first notice you are having a migraine, get a piece of paper and write the date and time along with all the symptoms you are experiencing.
2. When you do something to treat your migraine, write down what you did and when.
3. When your symptoms change, write down the time and what changed.
4. When your migraine is over, write down the time it ended and overall how long it lasted.
5. Assign a severity rating to the migraine on a scale of 1 to 10.
Finally, you’ll want to document everything you did and everything you ate in the days preceding the migraine. Put some thought into it. Write down as much as you can remember for 1-3 days before the migraine started.
Once you have started using a migraine journal, you can study the entries to learn more about what triggers your migraines and what is most effective for treating them. This information will also be valuable to your doctor, so be sure to bring your migraine journal to your next appointment.
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