Knowing Your Triggers
Given that migraines can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, weather changes, skipped meals, hormonal contraceptives, or natural hormone fluctuations due to menstrual cycles, and more, a migraine journal is extremely useful. With a large number of potential triggers, it’s important to understand which ones you are affected by. Experts believe that those who suffer from migraines may have unique triggers, and that treatment efficacy varies across individuals. Knowing how your body reacts to migraines and the triggers that aggravate your symptoms can greatly enhance treatment, enabling it to be tailored to your specific needs.
One important reason why migraines should be tracked is to determine how frequently they occur. Tracking enables medical providers to determine how frequently the patient suffers from migraines, how severe they are, and how they affect everyday life. They can also gain insight into the efficacy of migraine medications when the patient tracks on a regular basis. A patient might downplay or be absent-minded regarding the frequency and severity of their migraines, which is why keeping a written record is key. Also, the frequency of your headaches might have called for a change in treatment plans. Having more than eight headaches per month typically necessitates the use of daily medicine.
What and How to Track
Some useful details and pieces of information you should take note of in your migraine tracking include:
- When the migraine first occurred and how long it lasted
- The severity of the migraine on a rating from 0 to 10
- The location of the pain
- Whether there were other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to smells or light, numbness, weakness, etc.
- Whether you experienced any pre-migraine sensations or feelings
- If you are a woman — where you are in your menstrual cycle
- The food you consumed that day
- The activities you engaged in that day
- What medication(s) you took and when
- The dosage of medication(s) taken
- Whether the medication(s) provided relief and for how long
- Any other distinct trigger(s)
- Any home remedies you tried
Making these notes during a migraine may be challenging, but it is recommended that migraines are tracked as soon as possible after they occur, while you can still recall all of the important details. There may be a lot to remember, but this information may help you manage migraines and assist your medical provider in choosing the best treatment option. You can also use smartphone applications for tracking. Many applications enable you to send the data straight to your doctor. Some applications are particularly intended to track migraines. However, people who are sensitive to light should avoid screens and track their migraines on paper or even a bedside calendar.