What you can do to help manage your migraine

Do you keep a diary?

If you have migraine, you can keep a special kind of diary called a headache diary. Each day, you write down what you’ve been doing, what you have eaten and drunk, how stressed you have felt and more.

You also write down if you have had a migraine attack, how it made you feel and how long it lasted.

Keeping this kind of diary for three months or more will help you and your doctor work out what your migraine triggers might be.

There’s two ways to keep a headache diary

You can print off a paper diary (like this one) and fill it in, or you can use an app on your phone. Migraine Buddy and HeadApp are good and free to use.

If you prefer not to use an app and would like to create your own diary, here are some questions to ask yourself each day:

  • What did I eat and drink?
  • What time did I wake up?
  • Did I go to school?
  • Do I feel worried?
  • Have I banged my head?
  • Did I do any sports or games?
  • Did I watch TV?
  • Did I play videogames or play games on my iPad/tablet?
  • Did I go out with my friends or family?
  • What’s the weather like?

Then, answer these questions about how you feel:

  • Does my head hurt?
  • Does my tummy hurt?
  • Do I feel sick?
  • Have I been sick?
  • Am I sleepy?
  • Am I dizzy?
  • Have I seen spots, wiggles or bright lights?
  • Can I hear things like normal?
  • Am I feeling unwell in any other way?
  • Can I talk normally?

Your diary will be very helpful for your doctor. They will use it to work out which triggers are causing your migraine attacks and then help you avoid or manage these triggers.

Remember your bucket of migraine triggers from earlier?

One way we can stop migraine attacks is by stopping the bucket from getting full. So, if you woke up really early and are very tired AND you are feeling anxious today, your bucket is almost full. Your mission is to try to not add more triggers to it.

What you can do

You could drink lots of water, have a nap or wear your sunhat and sunglasses if the sun is shining brightly.

Sometimes avoiding triggers means missing out on parties, lessons or sports matches. You might just want to go to bed and sleep instead.

That can feel rubbish, but it’s OK. Everyone has to miss out sometimes and staying at home and sleeping will help you feel better.

It is much better to do this than to still go to things and say you feel fine because you don’t want to miss out.

We all need to stop and rest sometimes. It’s all about pacing yourself.