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Using a migraine diary can be a real wake-up call

In the last several months, I’ve not been keeping up with my health and lifestyle regime as well as I should.

(I’ve talked about falling off the wagon a couple of times on this blog, and it sounds like many of you are in the same boat!) In the back of my mind, I’ve thought, “Well, I certainly don’t feel as sick as I used to, but I would feel better if I’d take better care of myself again.”

I had no idea how bad things had gotten.

That is, until I took some time to look at my computer calendar and transfer data on all my migraines (the ones I remembered to record, at least) into my migraine journal. Yes, onto real paper. And I only did this at last because I had to visit my primary care doctor two weeks ago for injectable rescue treatment after a 9-day migraine, and she told me that I had to schedule a follow-up to discuss a better treatment plan. So, somewhat begrudgingly, I did what I always tell migraineur friends to do and updated my journal.

The results were shocking.

Between April 1st and August 1st of this year, one-quarter of my days have been affected by migraine. (Mom, don’t worry—this doesn’t mean that 25% of the time I was sick in bed—the percentage applies to days when I had a migraine but was still highly functioning, too.) And I also saw clear data on how, as reported earlier, that I’d been taking my abortive meds more often than doctors recommend.

This was a real wake-up call. If you are someone who has a vague idea that your migraines have gotten worse in severity or frequency, you’re especially in danger of being like me, venturing dangerously close to chronic migraine/intractable migraine land without knowing it. Even if the results are frightening, it is always better to know what’s happening with your body so you can take care of yourself.

So get yourself a journal or use a computer-based program, check out the migraine journal here. Keep track of when your migraines show up, how severe they are in terms of pain and other effects, when they go away, what you eat, when you sleep, and all the other ideas mentioned here.

Now when I go see my doctor next week I will be armed with some information that will help us both take a more proactive role in getting back in control of my life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Janene Zielinski
    8 years ago

    I’m right there with you. I have not been diligent in my self-care lately and it is so obvious in the number and severity of my migraines. I like to pretend sometimes that I am “normal” and can eat what I want, stay up as late as I want, travel like others, exercise like others, etc. – and yet I know from experience I can’t. Why do I delude myself into thinking I can? Even after 26 years I can’t get to “acceptance”. I guess I just need to remember to celebrate the things I CAN do.

  • Marquita Fuchs
    8 years ago

    You are so right. I got into this cycle one time and had to take prednisone to break the cycle!
    Find the best migraine specialist, ask your friends and or nurses.

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