Sydney Headache and Migraine Centre helps many people with debilitating head pain. Severe headaches and migraines can place undue stress in your life, with the worrying thought “When is my next episode going to strike?”
Some people have an obvious trigger, red wine for example. However, one of the most common sources of frustration we hear about is the inability to pinpoint why a migraine or headache is triggered.
When triggers are not obvious, we recommend keeping a headache diary. This will help identify patterns in your headache, giving you far more control over your life. No one wants to miss out on that significant family or work event!
What is a headache diary?
A headache diary is a record you keep when you experience a headache or a migraine. This is specifically for the purpose of identifying pattens or triggers related to your headache. It can be an important tool to utilise if you are not sure what is causing your head pain. It can also be useful if you experience headaches or migraines so often that you suspect there are multiple causes.
What to include in your headache diary?
– Time of the start and end of headache
– Type of headache (eg. Dull, stabbing etc)
– Pain intensity from 1-10/10
– Other symptoms present (eg. Dizziness, vomiting etc)
– Medication taken
– Possible triggers (eg changes in diet, mood, routine etc)
– Relief measures
– Time of menstrual cycle (for women)
One of the most significant roles of a headache diary is ‘trigger management’. This is crucial for people living with migraines. Some of the most common triggers include:
– Periods of time that are particularly stressful or creating anxiety.
– Lack of sleep
– Changes in weather patterns
– Exposure to bright or flashing lights or glare
– Specific times in the hormonal cycle
– Consuming certain foods or alcohol
– Physical exercise
– Exposure to certain smells
– Prolonged sitting
– Prolonged and awkward neck positions
Once a potential trigger is identified, lifestyle changes can be made to determine if symptoms can be minimised in anyway. If there is a change, this means that the potential trigger is related. If there is no change, this means that it is less likely a potential trigger related to your head pain.
Headache diaries are a great tool to use as a well-rounded approach to take back control. The following link is a diary format that we often recommend to our patents: Headache diary
Identifying triggers is a good start to managing headache. However. a holistic approach to reducing the impact of headache and migraine is most effective.
Sydney Headache and Migraine Centre addresses the ‘big picture’. Our practitioners will not only assist you in identifying triggers, we will determine the underlying problem which drives your head pain – a sensitised brainstem.
Through a comprehensive assessment of your upper neck, we can determine what is causing the sensitivity issue. We will then provide headache-specific treatment to settle your brainstem down. With a more settled brainstem, the triggers that would usually ‘fire up’ a migraine have little or no impact on your body.