There’s no doubt about it – headaches can be one of the most frustrating and debilitating ailments people suffer on a day to day basis. We’ve all had one, and we all have different ways that we rely on to alleviate the pain and corresponding symptoms. However, because there are so many different kinds of headaches, we cannot always trust that following generalized advice or taking over the counter medication will do the trick.
Here, we discuss how to keep a headache diary and what you need to know about it – when it is time to begin one, what you will learn, and how to go about logging your details. This can be an extremely useful detailed report to identify when headaches occur, and a tool to clarify things for both you and your doctor.
What works for one person may not work for the next. This is why it is always important to seek professional medical help if your headaches are beginning to seriously affect your daily functioning and standard of living. A medical health professional is qualified to observe, diagnose, and treat headache and migraine symptoms, and help you to better understand your problem.
However, you can help your doctor to better understand you, too. When asked “how often do your headaches occur?” and “what are the symptoms?”, it is best to give a confident answer. This is why keeping a headache diary is a great way to track the specifics of your headache problems.
How To Know When Your Headaches Are Becoming A Problem
Of course, no matter what, a headache or migraine can be extremely frustrating and painful for the sufferer. It is also very difficult for parents to know what to do and how to act when a child begins to suffer from one of these ailments.
Often, we are well aware of what the cause of the nuisance is: stress, lack of sleep, emotional distress, overexertion, heat, and dehydration are just some of the many examples. We also often have our own tried and tested methods for treating this ourselves.
Sometimes our reliance on self-medicating can stop us from realizing the seriousness of our condition, so there are a few things you should watch out for if you or someone else begins to suspect you are not just suffering from a minor ailment anymore. Ask yourself these questions if you are unsure whether a trip to the doctor is necessary:
Answer Yes To Any Of These Questions?
- Have you begun to suffer from more severe headaches? There are many different kinds of migraines, so be sure to read up on their signs and symptoms.
- Have you experienced a major change in the pattern of your headaches? You may begin to notice worrying changes in frequency and severity that pass the point of being considered minor ailments.
- Are your headaches accompanied with other symptoms such as disturbances in your vision, feelings of vertigo, neck stiffness, fever, or problems with memory and alertness? Symptoms that do not represent those of a traditional headache may be indicative of other problems.
- Do your headaches affect or prevent your normal daily activities? If your ailments have begun to alter the way you live your life, they are definitely worth checking out.
- Are you experiencing the ailment due to a new medication you are taking, or that has been prescribed to you? Your new medication may fix one thing, but have negative side effects on your life in other ways.
Visit A Health Care Professional
Answering yes to any one of the above questions likely means that you should seek medical help. This does not mean that you need to worry, as there are many ways to treat these problems and get the help you need.
Even if you cannot answer yes firmly to any of the above, but you are still in doubt, it is better to be safe and take a trip to the doctor anyway. You know best what is normal for your body and when you need assistance.
Once you have decided to seek professional diagnosis or help, it is strongly suggested by health care practitioners the world over that you take some time to keep a record of your headaches and their symptoms. Keeping a headache diary for even a few days can be a huge help for your doctor.
What Is A Headache Diary?
A headache diary can be kept either before your trip to the doctor or after consultation with them. It is a record kept of the particulars of your symptoms. You should aim to be as accurate as possible in keeping this, so be sure to be vigilant in your tracking and recording. Ultimately, this will help to yield the best results when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.
You can find headache diary templates all over the web, and there are also a number of headache diary apps that you can download on your phone for ease of use. However, there are certain questions you should be able to answer, so keep the next section in mind when downloading an app, trying out a template, or drawing up your own personal log.
What Will You Learn From Keeping This Type Of Log?
The following questions and concerns are what you should be able to find out if you decide on the process of keeping a headache diary:
- How frequent are your headaches? How long do they last and how severe are your symptoms? Is relief instant or are the after-effects just as debilitating?
- What kind of pain are you experiencing? (throbbing, piercing, dull etc.) Where is this pain located
- How might your environment be affecting your ailment? What makes it worse, and what makes it better?
- Is the food you eat and liquid you consume a factor? Is there a link between how much you consume/ when you consume it and your headaches?
- Are the medications you are using or precautions you are taking working, and if so, to what extent? Do your headaches get worse as a result of other medications?
- Is there any pattern to be observed? What are the trigger factors and warning signs?
- What are the accompanying symptoms that you experience, and when and to what extent do they occur?
Being able to answer these questions in detail may seem a bit overboard, but since there are over 300 different kinds of headaches, it is best to be as accurate as possible.
How To Be Sure Of The Particulars Of Your Headache
Because headaches, migraines, and their accompanying symptoms can be so severe, we may lose sight of the particulars when facing this extreme pain and discomfort.
Learn how to identify headache locations– you will also be able to find out more about what the importance of location means when it comes to analyzing causes and risk factors. The location of your pain is crucial information for your doctor.
It may also be a good idea to look further into it and discover what triggers headaches. There may be some activities you partake in or foods you enjoy that will surprise you. You may be experiencing headaches for reasons you had never even dreamed of.
Bad posture, preservatives in foods, and repeated exposure to bright lights or technology are just some examples of surprising but frequently observed causes and triggers. This is also why it is important to keep a very detailed headache diry of how you spend your day and what you eat and drink.
Useful Headings To Include In Your Headache Diary
When looking for the right app or headache diary template to download, try to look out for the following headings or logging questions. There should also be the option to record the time that each of the following occurs:
- Foods eaten
- Water and other beverages consumed
- Hours slept
- Activities undergone (sport, work, relaxation etc.)
- Medications taken (be specific!)
- Headache severity, intensity, and duration
- Location of pain or symptoms
- Preceding symptoms
- Accompanying symptoms
- After-effects and extent of relief
Of course, a consultation with your doctor may also clarify what they need to know from you. With this in mind, draw up a headache diary logging plan together if there are any specific questions that he or she may want to be answered.
Otherwise, using the headings above should help you to achieve the best results from your headache diary.
While the above exercise may seem tedious, it will undoubtedly be of help to you and your doctor when it comes to diagnosis and effective treatment. This is also a great way to log your child’s details if you are becoming concerned about their headache symptoms.
Your diary can also be kept during your treatment to track its effectiveness and consult back with your doctor. Always be sure that you are well informed when it comes to headaches, migraines, and their triggers – you may be able to alleviate frequency and duration purely by being vigilant.