What is a headache diary?
A headache diary is an important tool to understand how your headaches are affecting you. It is important to make an entry in the headache diary whenever you have a headache. A headache diary can be recorded in many ways including on a computer, smartphone app or calendar. However, keeping a structured diary is the best way to keep track of your headaches accurately.
What is included in a headache diary?
The headache diary will help you keep track of:
- How often you are having headaches
- How severe the headaches are
- Where you are feeling the headache
- The type of pain that is being caused by the headache (such as throbbing or squeezing)
- If the headache is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light
- Any medications you are taking to help relieve the headache
Why keep a headache diary?
Recording as much detail as possible in your headache diary is very important. It can help your doctor understand what is causing your headaches and make the correct diagnosis. Usually a headache diary is kept for at least one month and sometimes over a 2-3 month period to see if there is any sort of pattern to your headache. It can also be useful as it can help you to identify triggers that may be bringing on your headache. A headache diary can also be used to see if the medication you are taking is working as intended.
Bringing the headache diary to your next appointment
It is important to remember to bring the diary to your appointments. Your doctor will review the diary and can use it to monitor your progress, assess if changes are needed in medications and update your treatment plan as necessary.
Please download your headache diary.
Primary headaches include migraine, tension-type headaches and cluster headaches. Primary headaches appear with other symptoms. For example, when someone experiences a migraine they may also feel nauseous, start vomiting, and be sensitive to light and sound.
Secondary headaches are named according to the underlying disease process or condition, and will resolve when the condition is appropriately treated. For example, headache can result as a symptom of acute rhinosinusitis, a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed. This is sometimes referred to as sinus headache, however, the use of sinus headache as a diagnosis is not used by the International Headache Society. Often sinus headache can be incorrectly used or mistaken for other headaches, including migraine.
People experiencing a migraine may have symptoms such as pain around the eyes and nasal congestion. These symptoms incorrectly lead to the interpretation of the migraine as a sinus headache. People who have rhinosinusitis or symptoms of an infection with an accompanying headache. It is likely that the headache is secondary to these conditions and proper diagnosis of the underlying problem can lead to correct treatment and resolution of the headache. To work out whether the headache is due to a condition affecting the sinuses, or a migraine, the doctor will start by asking questions to take a clinical history and may perform a nasal endoscopy.
Behavioral and other nonpharmacologic treatments for headache
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