This leaflet is about keeping a diary of your migraines to help identify what is causing them.
Why should I keep migraine diary?
Most migraines seem to come right out of the blue, but for some people there are certain things that can set them off - we call these triggers. These can be all different types of things like food, your environment or mood, medicines and hormones. If you want to learn more about migraines and what can trigger them, read the migraine leaflet for more detail.
If you are trying to work out what is causing your migraines, it may help to keep a migraine diary. A pattern may emerge, and it may be possible to avoid one or more things that may trigger your migraines. But too much effort trying to identify triggers can make you very anxious. In some people it may do more harm than good, especially if no trigger is found - which is common.
What should I write in the diary?
Have a look at the example of a migraine diary below.
1) Fill in the calendar part. This gives an overall picture of when the migraines occur.
- Fill in the days of the week.
- Mark when you have an attack. Note: people with migraine can also have common tension-type headaches. So, in the attack column, indicate when you have a migraine, or a tension-type headache, or if you are not sure.
- If you are a woman and have periods, put a B in the period column on the days you are bleeding.
2) Fill in a notes section for each attack. This gives details of:
- How bad the attacks (episodes) are.
- How well medication helps.
- Possible factors that may have triggered the attack.
It may help to fill it in over 3-4 months so that you develop a better understanding of your migraines. You can share this with your doctor.
Fill in the details of each migraine/headache attack using the following:
Further reading & references
- Migraine; NICE CKS, May 2016 (UK access only)
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Hayley Willacy
Dr Sarah Jarvis