Q: Why should I keep a migraine diary?
A: Keeping a diary will help you avoid migraine triggers and maintain a consistent treatment program. Tracking your activities and noting when you have a migraine attack enables you to identify triggers, such as missed meals, traveling, stressful situations, or certain foods, and to avoid them as much as possible in future. Your diary also allows you to plan times for relaxation or stress management techniques as well as for exercise, and will help you stay dedicated to your treatment program.
Q: How will the diary help me control the migraine attacks?
A: A diary will give you an accurate assessment of how well you are controlling your migraine. Most people experience periods of time when they get more frequent attacks, which can be very discouraging. It is very easy to give up during difficult times if you cannot see signs of immediate improvement. Looking back on times of better migraine control provides perspective and encourages you to persist with your treatment program, especially with changes in your lifestyle.
Q: How can changing my lifestyle help my migraine?
A: Living a “migraine-friendly” lifestyle by avoiding triggers will not only lessen the frequency of attacks but may reduce and often eliminate the need for daily preventive medication. Most preventive medications are more effective if combined with lifestyle changes. As with many chronic conditions, lifestyle changes are at the heart of how well you manage the condition. It is important to understand that you must reduce triggers to prevent future migraine attacks, and not simply to avoid a single attack.
Q: What if I am convinced my migraine is simply caused by stress?
A: Blaming only stress without seeing how the other triggers contribute to the frequency of your migraine attacks can make your migraine more difficult to treat successfully. You will come to view migraine attacks as inevitable during times of stress and may fail to take action that could prevent the attacks. During periods of stress, you can often eliminate or control other triggers and therefore prevent the attack while you are dealing with the stressful situation. Moreover, the migraine attack may be making you more prone to feeling stressed rather than the other way around and may have actually been triggered by something else.
Q: I am reluctant to change my lifestyle. Do I really have to?
A: Many people with migraine feel the same as you. In the beginning, it is hard to believe that your migraine has anything to do with your diet or lifestyle. However, patients who take a comprehensive approach to their migraine treatment by avoiding as many triggers as possible usually find that the reduction in the frequency of their attacks is well worth all the hard work.
Q: Why is it helpful to write down what I am eating or drinking?
A: Dietary changes for the successful treatment of migraine can be one of the most difficult challenges you will face. Some people may have more difficulty with dietary changes than others. Keeping track of what you are eating will help you alter your eating habits. Many people with migraine do not realize how many triggers are in the food they eat until they start writing down what they are eating. Unless you write down a list of what you eat and how you are eating, such as whether you miss meals, it can be difficult to see how your eating habits influence the frequency of the migraine attacks.
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