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What is a Headache Diary and How to Keep One

Updated on December 2, 2012

Why You Need to Keep A Headache Diary

If you are serious about trying to find headache cures for the ones that affect you, the best way is to know as much as possible about them. You can learn about the type of headaches that people suffer from from many sources, but how and why they affect you is likely to be unique to you.

The Headache Diary is the way you become the expert on your headaches, not only can you collect more information on a daily basis if necessary, than most health professionals could, but you also have the most incentive to find a headache cure and see the headaches gone!

Even two people who suffer from migraine headaches for example are not likely to have all the same symptoms or have the same triggers. So whilst someone may be able to tell you their own triggers or headache cures it is unlikely to be the same as yours, but it is always worth listening and taking note because there are common triggers for headaches,especially migraines, and as I've said before, you are expert for your headaches and keeping a records will make you a better one!

It is well known that for some people migraine headaches can have food triggers, two such triggers are known to be red wine and chocolate, but the same is also true of other types of headaches, these two triggers are well known and accepted, but there are other foods or drinks that have the same effect!

The problem is in any one 24 hour period we can ingest a wide range of food and drink any one of which on its own or combined with another food or factor may trigger a headache.

Other factors can include the time of day food is eaten, the day of the month for women, level of stress or the amount of sleep a person has had, this list is not exhaustive so you can begin to see that with various permutations of factors things are looking complicated. The way we can start to analyze and make sense of all these factors is the Headache Diary.

The Diary

So what do you need to record? Below is a list suggesting what might be relevant factors for triggering headaches:-

· Date and day of week

· For women day of menstrual cycle

· Time of headache starting

· Describe location of headache in head and other symptoms

· Food eaten in preceding 24 hrs

· Drinks in preceding 24 hrs and not just alcohol

· State of general health

· Amount and quality of sleep

· How stressed were you feeling prior to headache

Whilst this sounds an onerous task, is keeping a few records for a period of time worth the reward of fewer headaches?

Although called a headache diary it is better and easier to spot patterns if you can create a chart or pages where the above factors are already listed so that you are consistent in what you record and in the long run easier and faster. For those of you handy with creating spreadsheets or graphs on the computer you can really get carried away.

What Next ?

What you are looking for are patterns, do your headaches occur mainly on weekends or at least when you are not working for example, if so start to look at what is different between those two situations e.g. sleeping late on days off (yes, too much sleep can result in headaches), or not having so many cups of coffee (caffeine withdrawal headaches, or too much caffeine if reversed situation). Where several factors are involved a process of elimination has to taken.

Headache cures might become self evident when you have spotted the pattern, but even if not there are many headache remedies worth looking at when your search is more focused e.g. herbal remedies or particular exercise for tension headaches.

Thought For The Day

He who laughs, lasts.

- Mary Poole


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    • A.Lawrence profile image

      A.Lawrence 7 years ago

      Yes, food too can trigger headaches, migraines in particular, it would have to be something nice like chocolate though, why couldn't it be cabbage? Having said that, strong raw onion also triggered headaches for me, but I did like it in a side salad. Still I miss the foods, but don't miss the headaches! Good luck in finding your triggers!

    • Angela_1973 profile image

      Angela_1973 7 years ago

      Never knew that food can cause a headache too, very interesting. I love the combination of wine and dark chocolate though, I guess I will be more careful and see how does it really treat me. Thanks for this hub, I vote you up!