Migraine diaries

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Migraine diaries

Post by pīwakawaka on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:55 pm

Wow, it's gone quiet in these forums. Where has everybody gone? I hope I'm not talking to myself. I've found these forums so helpful since I discovered them last year, I would hate for them to die through lack of interest. So the main purpose of this post to keep them alive by sharing my experience in keeping an electronic migraine diary over the last 2 months.


In the past I have tried keeping paper based diaries, but none of them lasted for more than a few days. There were many reasons why: misplacing/loosing the diary sheet; writing being completely illegible; dissatisfaction with the lack of information being recorded; being in a state where I simply forgot to record anything. I guess a large part too was due to a lack of motivation.


When I obtained a tablet computer at the beginning of February and discovered there were a number of migraine apps available, I decided it was about time that I made a more determined effort at recording the effects of the migraines.


I couldn't find any app that entirely suited my needs, as they all primarily concentrate on pain levels, triggers and medications. I wanted to also record all the other symptoms I encounter during a migraine (and there are a lot of them). In the end I settled on 2 apps, each each had different ways of collecting the information.


My preferred app is My Headache Log as it allows me to set up custom symptoms. So over the 2 months I have gradually added to the list of symptoms, so they now include: Aura; Bilateral pain; Blind areas in vision; Confusion; Derealisation; Double vision; Language processing dificulties; Memory loss; Nausea; Pain in back of head; Pain in left temple; Pain in right temple; Phonophobia; Photophobia; Restless legs; Slurred speach; Staggering; Tinnitus; Tremors.


The major problem with My Headache Log is that it crashes whenever I try to display any of the statistics charts. So I also keep Headache Diary. Its statistical graphs do work. Its major flaws are that you cannot customise symptoms, and that maximum length of a migraine is 9 hours. Consequently some of its statistics are rather inaccurate.


Between the 2 apps, I have discovered some information that has surprised me. I'd always though my pain levels were relatively low. However both apps record an average level of 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I had assumed it was around 3 or 4.


Another significant discovery, is that the effectiveness of reducing pain of various meds (both over the counter and prescription) is inversely proportional to their frequency of use. I used twice as much prescription med in February compared to March but they were nearly twice as effective in March. I used trice as many over the counter meds in March compared with February, and the meds were more effective in February than in March. So there's obviously a delicate balancing act between frequency of use and effectiveness.


Some of the other statistics are interesting, but I'm not sure of their significance as yet due to the small number of migraines recorded (30 to date). So far, twice as many migraines start on a Saturday compared to Sunday and Thursday, but pain levels are significantly higher on Sundays compared to the rest of the week.
Number of migraines over that last 30 days: 13
Number of migraines since 02/02/2013: 31
Most common time of day: Morning
Average length of Migraine: 30.5 hours


I've never been able to keep a diary for more than a week before, so I'm quite proud of myself for keeping this going for two and a half months. I've told myself I have to keep it going for at least a year. I want to see if there is any significant differences between the seasons.

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Re: Migraine diaries

Post by Sarah on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:23 am

I don't know where everyone has gone either. Sad

I'm always in two minds over migraine diaries, as when I keep one, I find it a negative experience, because I'm too focused on my migraines. And yet, as you've found, it's probably a good way of picking up information that you don't even realise day to day.

I might have to give one of these a try, as I've only ever kept a notebook type diary up to now, or an Excel spreadsheet.
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Re: Migraine diaries

Post by pīwakawaka on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:13 pm

Mine's an android tablet, and I found about a dozen headache diaries in the Google Play Store. I'm guessing there's a similar number in Apple's Apps Store if you've got an iphone or ipad.

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