Documenting Your Symptoms
Last updated: August 2022
There are certain clues I now know to look for that display changes in my symptoms to me and my neurologist in a helpful way. Recently, I've seen a lot more increased migraine pain and symptoms, making me wonder if my preventive and even acute medications are perhaps starting to lose their efficacy. It has led me to pose a couple of questions for our community and maybe even challenge you. How often do you document your symptoms and the severity of them?
Talk with your doctor
I'm not a medical professional and encourage you to talk with your specialist as soon as possible whenever you notice something severe or obvious in your daily to weekly activity. With the number of new choices in preventive and acute prescription medication for migraines and variations of them, it is always best to consult your doctor, as no two migraine patients will always or consistently present the same.
What could cause these changes?
Symptom changes can attribute to many things, including hormones, medication efficacy, and changes in symptoms or activity. It can even be when new symptoms you may not recognize as symptoms begin to pop up. I recommend documenting diligently, as there can always be a possibility of patterns associated with new or worsening migraine pain or symptoms.
How do I document my symptoms?
I keep track of through documentation, which I hope you may find helpful or consider trialing, too. All I did to find a chart or somewhat of an organized medical symptom tracker/journal was do a simple Google search for "health tracking documents/logs." I found a lot of different options right from the start - some I knew immediately I wouldn't do well with, considering how I learn and deconstruct certain activities in my brain. But to my surprise, I found some very helpful ones for me, my specialists, and my care teams.
How have my doctors felt about it?
Even more, to my surprise, I've had a really good response from doctors who have personally asked me to do certain logs but cognitively were very hard for me to keep track of, given my distinct reading and learning abilities. I would consider this "experiment" that I was given/originally assigned to me by my first neurologist a success. I feel confident being able to look over days/weeks/months' worth of symptoms and feel good bringing that data into my doctor's appointments. To my surprise, they've really appreciated me bringing them, with the detail I've been able to. It's allowed me not only to see my own patterns but find pride in recognizing when I know something is "off" so I can bring that data to my specialist to dissect.
How about you?
Have you recognized these as important factors you would perhaps consider collectively documenting to bring to your specialists at an appointment? Do you feel it might be helpful for you and/or your providers to help break down the data and recognize certain things?
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?