Migraine Diaries: Friend or Foe?

I began taking magnesium and CoQ10 supplements a few months ago. I think they’re helping, but since I no longer keep a migraine diary it’s kind of hard to tell for sure.

Do we ever really remember our pain accurately? I think about childbirth and the pains of pregnancy. Do any of us really remember how nauseous and exhausted we were those first four months? Can anyone truly remember the extreme pain of labor and childbirth. I think not.

We remember that it was hell. We remember that we were tired, that we hurt, that nothing could make us comfortable. But, we can’t truly describe the intensity of the pain. If we could, nothing could ever talk us in to having a second child.

I think migraines are like that, too.

I can remember times when I couldn’t get out of bed for days because of my migraine. I can remember laying on the floor, gasping in pain, crying. But, I can’t really remember what a “9” migraine feels like. Not truly. And, how do I know one 9 is the same as another?

I don’t. I suppose that’s the subjective nature of pain; it not only varies between one person and another, it also varies between a person’s own experiences. And, without keeping a diary, I’m not sure how much I can rely on my memories.

But, I can’t keep a diary anymore. The daily reminder that I’m sick, that I have a “condition,” is too much to take. It renders me incapable of forgetting about the pain for even a moment. Some part of me is always monitoring my pain levels and my symptoms so I can record the day’s events accurately. There’s no forgetting. There’s no ignoring.

What works for you? Do you keep a diary? If so, what kind? (Online? Paper?) How long have you been writing in it, or when and why did you stop if you used to keep one?

8 thoughts on “Migraine Diaries: Friend or Foe?

  1. It is so interesting you say that. I too have written about and thought that pain is relative and forgettable? I mean I look at videos of me walking w/ my kids and I know in my brain that day was horrible but I can’t remember the actual “feeling” of the pain.
    Migraines are horrendous beasts – that for those who have never had them – don’t know the difference between a migraine and a severe headache.
    I am not sure if you have tried this – but have you had botox shots? My pain Dr. was one of the leaders in bringing that procedure to Canada. Many of his patients found them extremely helpful.
    For me – Zomig is my hero – I take one of those babies when I actually get the vibe coming on – and it is crushed. If, however, I miss my window – that bad boy has leeched it’s way into my skull.
    I have been going to a Naturopath – and it seems that my migraines have lessened a little. I stopped doing my pain diary too – probably I should do it again.
    I would like to add you to my Blog roll if that is ok – if you would like to add me – that would be A – OK with me.
    I like your blog.

    • Thanks, Kathleen. I would love you to add me to your blogroll. I have added you to mine. 🙂

      I haven’t had the botox shots yet. My neurologist recommended them at one point, but since I’m considering getting pregnant again they are now off the table for the time being. Have you tried them?

      Unfortunately, none of the triptans work well for me. I do have the home injection kit for imitrex, and if I hit it at the exact right time it sometimes works. Often though it only leaves me with a faster heart beat, severe nausea, and lessened pain that returns full force in a few hours. I’m glad you have something that works for you, though.

      What does a Naturopath do for your migraines? I’m interested in learning more about that?

  2. I can relate to “the daily reminder that I’m sick, that I have a “condition,” is too much to take” — I’m in a chronic headache pain class at Kaiser right now, and (yet again) I have to keep a headache journal. I’ve done on-and-off for years at several doctors requests… but every time I do it, I feel like my days are worse. Now, that could be because I’m logging my pain and therefore and more acutely aware of the levels of pain… but it just seems to remind me daily how terrible it is. I will stop doing the journal once this class is over… but I’m sure I’ll inevitably be asked to do one again.

    Thanks for your insight and support. I just came across your blog yesterday and I’m loving it.

  3. I too have just started taking Magnesium to get control of my migraines and to help with kidney stones. I will look into the CoQ10. Pain management is a full time, non paying, resources consuming venture I have been undertaking a long time as well and I sympathize. Sympathy and knowledge is all I feel suffers can offer each other on the Internet.
    I want to share this article about research that indicates migraine and depression may share a strong genetic component.

    • Jen,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing the link. I had heard about the connection between depression and migraine. The implications are interesting, though I admit I didn’t see any improvement in my migraine when they tried to treat it with an anti-depressant (in combination with other drugs).

      Have you noticed any improvement since taking the magnesium?

      Good luck with your pain management. I wish you success.

  4. The class is ok. I’ve learned a lot. I haven’t seen much improvement, but I’m hoping once I start really implementing everything they’ve given us, I’ll start to see something. We’ve been learning about autogenics, biofeedback, acupressure… lots of things. I’ve actually started a blog myself to document what I’m going through and to give others some of the info i’ve picked up through the class and through the years. it’s http://chronicheadaches.wordpress.com … i JUST started it though so there’s not a ton on it yet. Thanks for your reply!

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