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Home > Health Library > Headache Diary
Keeping a headache diary may help you understand what types of headaches you get and what treatment works best for you. You also may be able to find out what your headache triggers are, such as certain foods, stress, sleep problems, or physical activity. Take your headache diary to your doctor. Together you can look at your headache history and look for patterns to your headaches.
Record each day that you get a headache. Use a pain rating scale from 0 to 10 (where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine) to identify how bad the headache is. Put the number for how bad the headache is in the time of day when it happened. For each day you have a headache, also record how much disability you had on a scale from 0 to 3 (where 0 means you were able to continue to do your normal activities well and 3 means you had to either miss work or school at least part of the day or had to go to bed for part of the day). An example of a monthly chart follows.
Day of the month
How bad is your headache?
Disability for the day
List the medicines that you take to STOP a headache (such as pain medicine or triptans). For each medicine, note how much of the medicine you took on the day you had a headache and how much relief the medicine gave you. Rate your relief from 0 to 3 (where 0 is no relief and 3 is complete relief). An example of a monthly chart follows.
How much relief?
List the medicines, if any, that you take to prevent headaches (such as a beta-blocker or anticonvulsant). For each medicine, note every day that you took it. An example of a monthly chart follows.
List any other treatments that you use for your headaches. This may include massage, relaxation therapy, vitamins, herbs, and other natural health products.
For women, note the days you had your menstrual period. An example of a monthly chart follows.
List your four most common triggers. Then, for each day you get a headache, write in the number of the trigger that you think may have caused your headache.
An example of a monthly chart follows.
Record when you went to the doctor or to the emergency room, when you were hospitalized, or when you saw any other health care providers (such as a massage therapist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor).
Current as of: November 20, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 20, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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