Chronic Migraineurs Do You Recommend a Migraine Diary? Help! – “My-graine” Action Plan Step 3

Cutesy diary my hubby bought for me.

Cutesy diary my hubby bought for me.

Do you have a migraine diary? I mean the kind where you record your pain level, food for the day, meds etc., all in an effort to figure out your migraine triggers. Many episodic migraineurs have successfully narrowed down their triggers using this method. After which, they avoid them like the plague to keep their migraines at bay. I’m sure they sneak a little cheat from time to time.

But does this method work for chronic migraineurs? What’s your opinion?

I’d really like to know because I FINALLY started mine. My husband has literally been on me for YEARS to start and maintain one. I always start but get lazy and stop. I just wonder how effective it is for someone who lives 80% of their life with a migraine.

I know that this step is usually one that doctors recommend. Every time I start seeing a new neurologist, they ask to see it and/or encourage me to start one. But please, chronic migraineurs out there, what’s your story when it comes to migraine diaries? What type do you use?

As you can see from my pic, I’ve gone the “old school” route – an actual journal. Why? I’ve tried a number of apps for android and IOS but they always seem to lack something. So I’ve decided to stick with writing things down.

I look forward to thoughts, advice…

– Skylar




9 thoughts on “Chronic Migraineurs Do You Recommend a Migraine Diary? Help! – “My-graine” Action Plan Step 3

  1. I don’t get migraines but I have chronic pain and in my opinion if something can maybe help get the migraines from 80% down to even 70% it’s worth trying and sticking with. Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi Skylar,

    I kept a super detailed diary for over a year, and it didn’t help me identify triggers AT ALL, because the pain was so frequent, it seemed impossible.

    I switched to simply tracking the frequency and severity of my attacks and any major changes in my routine, that has actually yielded results in that I can see patterns over time.

    I don’t always know exactly what has helped or harmed, but since I started botox and the cefaly, there has been a decrease in pain. So I’m still going with both… The diary allows me to calculate the percentage my pain has decreased.

    I think at the very least tracking the pain is helpful for recognizing patterns over time. A detailed diary with food, exercise, stresses, etc., might be more work than it’s worth.

    🙂 Anna

    • Thanks so much Anna !!! That’s really helpful to know. I wondered because I have more migraines than just a daily headache that’s unrelated to migraine (my head pain never stops). However, most if not all of my headaches are migrainous. The migraine symptoms just range from tolerable to excruciating. Like today head pain is at the moment a throbbing 3 but light sensitivity is off the charts! Some light peaking in through my blinds felt like an ice pick going though my right eye.

      I’m going to continue with the diary for a while, my husband really wants me to do it, but I’ll track the frequency and severity of the attacks and major changes in my routine. However, if more and more chronic migraineurs leave comments similar to yours, then hubby and I will talk about adjusting how and what I record.

      Decreased pain is great news. I hope you continue in that direction. Perhaps you’ll return to episodic migraines. Wouldn’t that be fab!!! Dreams…! 🙂

      – Skylar

  3. Pingback: “My-graine” Action Plan | MigrainePuzzlePieces

  4. Hey Skylar,
    Great blog. I really love it. I’ve had New Daily Persistent Headache for 4 years. For the first three they called it chronic migraine. Anyway back on topic, keeping a pain journal has been good and bad for me. I think it’s essential for doctors. Numbers is a language they understand and seeing written evidence of how many bad days I was having was key. Not that I’m cured or even better but doctors like charts and it has helped them understand that this is serious. But pain journals are bad when you have to face how bad things are and how long they’ve been bad. I usually only chart my pain level and any extenuating circumstances that I felt contributed. I have made crazy charts with weather, diet, menstrual cycle, & so on. But it gets convoluted and I think I’ve learned what I’m going to learn about those patterns. Good luck with your chart! I hope it helps.

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad you like my blog.

      And thanks for sharing! It’s good to know that the monotony of recording all my information will be appreciated by doctors. And knowing that you learned something encourages me to keep tracking.

      Did finding out that you have new daily persistent headaches rather than chronic migraine make a difference to your life? How did the doctors figure out your diagnosis?

      – Skylar

      • They changed my diagnosis to NDPH for two reasons really. 1.My headaches started out of the blue 2. There is no history of migraine in my family. It took three years to figure that out because my headaches act exactly like migraines, except they can’t be treated the same. My new diagnosis has not changed my life very much. At first it was nice to know its true name but NDPH doesn’t give a lot of hope. Mostly it’s given me freedom to take a break from trying every treatment under the sun and forced me to learn to enjoy my life despite the pain.

      • Hmmm…maybe one day they’ll say it’s a new form of migraine. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck how could it be something else? But what do I know. I really need to do more research on NDPH.

        Huh…these neurological disorders!!! I hope something helps.

        Glad you’re focusing on enjoying life. That can be the hard part but it’s not impossible.

        Anyhoo, I hope you can continue the challenge with me on tolerable days. If we can’t fight off our migraine and NDPH maybe we can keep heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. away.

        Take care,


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