Many times, headache and migraine patients visit the office and have trouble describing the frequency and severity of their pain. Usually their descriptions either overestimate or underestimate what is really going on.
To get a true sense of chronic or recurrent headaches, I recommend that patients keep a headache diary. The diary serves as a written record of the characteristics of the headaches, their frequency, duration as well as their intensity. A diary can help me (and the patient) understand patterns and/or potential triggers.
Key Information to Track
So what should a patient include in a headache diary? Keep a log of the following information:
- The date of the headache
- The approximate time of the headache’s onset and when it resolved
- Any activities or circumstances at the time of the onset
- Time of the most recent meal prior to the onset
- How much sleep you got the night before
- Whether you did anything different prior to the onset of the headache
- The intensity or severity of the headache (could be on a scale from 1 to 10)
- The type of pain (e.g., throbbing, piercing, dull, sharp)
- Any symptoms or warning signs preceding your headache
- Where the pain was located
- Any additional symptoms
- Potential triggers (e.g., caffeine, alcohol)
- Medication you took for the headache (including dosage)
- Any other actions taken for relief
- If applicable, the type of response or relief you experienced (e.g., complete or moderate relief)
- Last menstrual period (if applicable)
The length of time a patient should keep a diary varies – it may be for a week, a month or throughout the duration of treatment.
How to Record the Data
There are several ways to keep a headache diary.
You can create a log on your computer using Word or Excel. There are also headache apps, like iHeadache or Migraine Buddy, that you can use on your smartphone or tablet. You can also just a special notebook and handwrite your information.
When it comes time to review your diary with us at Pasadena Pain Management, always provide us with a complete list of any medications you currently take and any other information about your medical history that may be relevant.
Is it Time For an Appointment?
Contact Us Today for a FREE CONSULTATION at Pasadena Pain Management. We can evaluate your headaches, migraines, head and neck pain, and/or TMJ disorder and tell you whether our TruDenta care program is right for you.
About Pasadena Pain Management
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.