Keeping a headache diary

A general guide to recording your migraine attacks

Why keep a headache diary?

Recording details of your migraine attacks or headache can be useful. It can help:

  • your doctor make a diagnosis
  • you recognise triggers and warning signs
  • assess whether your acute or preventive medication is working
  • show any patterns to attacks.

A headache diary can include information on a range of things, however, it’s often best to keep it simple and record basic information. This can include:

  • date
  • day of the week
  • duration (how long the attack lasted)
  • severity (how bad the attack was). This can either be recorded as mild, moderate or severe. Or on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the worst pain you can imagine
  • other symptoms you experience alongside the headache such as dizziness, vertigo, sensitivity to light, sound, smells or any symptoms that affect your movement (e.g. numbness).
  • medication you take, including if you take a second dose
  • anything else that may be helpful. Such as side effects from medication, any potential triggers, your period, any changes in medication, and anything else that may be helpful.

Below is a monthly template of a headache diary you may find helpful.