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Keep a Migraine Diary

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School
Excerpted from a Harvard Special Health Report

A headache diary can be valuable in helping you and your doctor diagnose and treat your headaches. You can use it to map out the characteristics of your headaches, including their frequency, duration, and intensity. It can help in identifying possible triggers and related symptoms, as well as tracking the dosage and effectiveness of any medications you're taking.

You can use a preprinted form, like the one below, or a regular calendar or notebook to record this information. Your doctor may recommend keeping such a diary every day for a week, a month, or the duration of your treatment. He or she may review the diary with you to assess your progress, weigh the effectiveness of medications, or make adjustments in your treatment plan.


First episode

Second episode

Third episode

Date/day of the week of headache


Time of onset


Time of resolution


Warning signs


Location(s) of the pain


Type of pain


Intensity of the pain*


Additional symptoms


Activities/circumstances at time of onset


Time of most recent meal prior to onset


Food/drink most recently consumed prior to onset


Medication(s) taken for headache


Response to medication(s)


Other action(s) taken for relief


Response to action(s)


Last menstrual period**


Medication(s) currently taken for other condition(s)


*on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain possible

**beginning date and ending date

Note: Permission is granted to reproduce this page of the report for individual use.

Last Annual Review Date: 2011-01-01T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright: Copyright Harvard Health Publications

Reference: Migraine & Headaches section on Better Medicine

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Did You Know?

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Although most people experience headaches only from time to time, an unfortunate but significant minority — about 1 in 20 people — experience them daily or almost every day.