Headache Home > Migraine Diary

Keeping a migraine diary is a standardized way to document your migraines' frequency and severity, as well as possible links to physical, emotional, or environmental factors. Each time you have a migraine, write down the time of day, what you were doing, and factors that may have played a role. This information can help your healthcare provider better understand your condition and devise a treatment plan.

An Overview of Keeping a Migraine Diary

One of the ways to help prevent migraines is to understand your possible migraine triggers. In order to do this, healthcare providers often recommend using a migraine diary (also known as a headache diary). This is a tool that allows you to clearly capture, in a standardized way, how often you get migraines, how severe they are, and the possible relationship to physical, emotional, or environmental factors.

 
Each time you have a migraine, write down the time of day, the point in your menstrual cycle (for women), where you are at the time, and what you were doing when the migraine started. Besides helping you understand possible triggers, a diary will also help your healthcare provider better understand your migraines. This will also allow migraine treatments to be tailored to your particular situation.
 

Sample Migraine Diary

The following is a sample diary that you can use to track your migraines.
 
Date
During Menses? (Yes/No)
Time Began
(a.m./p.m.)
Severity
(Score)*
Psychological and
Physical FactorsA
Chemical Exposure B
Describe Location/
Type of Pain
Medication Taken, Dosage
Time Ended
(a.m./p.m.)
Relief
(Score)**
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Severity Scale * Relief Scale **
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
None
Mild
Can't work
Worst, can't do anything
Getting worse
Same, unchanged
Better
Totally better
A. Psychological and Physical Factors
 
B. Chemical Exposure
 
 
1 – Emotional upset (family or friends)
2 – Emotional upset (occupational)
3 – Business failure
4 – Business success
5 – Vacation days
6 – Weekend
7 – Strenuous exercise
8 – Strenuous labor
9 – High-altitude location (flight)
10 – Anticipation anxiety
11 – Serious crisis
12 – Postcrisis period
 
 
13 – New job/position
14 – Moved/housing change
15 – Menstrual days
16 – Physical illness
17 – Oversleeping
18 – Weather
19 – Fasting
20 – Missing a meal
21 – Lack of sleep
22 – Studying
23 – Television/VCR >2 hours
24 – Other:___________________
 
 
A – Ripened cheeses (or pizza)
B – Herring
C – Chocolate
D – Red vinegar
E – Fermented foods (pickled or marinated, sour cream, yogurt)
F – Freshly baked yeast breads, cakes
G – Nuts, peanut butter
H – Monosodium glutamate (Asian food)
I – Pods or broad beans
J – Onions
K – Canned figs
 
 
L – Citrus fruits
M – Bananas
N – Pork
O – Caffeinated beverages (including sodas)
P – Avocado
Q – Smoked or cured sausage, cured cold cuts
R – Chicken livers
S – Wine
T – Alcohol
U – Beer
V – Drugs (specify):_________________
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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