How To Keep An Effective Health Log
When you're in the midst of a pain cycle and can't find a way to get the headaches to stop, one of the best things you can do is keep a health log. This step can be hard when you are in pain all of the time, but it's important to record some helpful data and start investigating the possible causes.
There are lots of formats a health log can come in, from apps, printable forms, and books. I highly recommend choosing a log that tracks your whole body rather than just headaches, so that you can look for clues in a wide variety of areas. I've tried a few, and I like the Healthminder guide the best.
I like this particular book because it is an extensive, whole body health log, and addresses areas you wouldn't even think of.
Yet whatever format you choose, here are a few tips for keeping an effective log.
- Pay Attention To Your Whole Body. We tend to think of headaches and migraines in terms of the pain they cause to our head. When you start to track things, however, do a mental scan of your whole body, and pay attention throughout the day. Write down all of your aches and pains, however unrelated they might seem. A sprained ankle, a stomachache, even skin issues- these can all be clues about what is going on in your body.
- Record At The Same Time Everyday. Writing everything down can be tedious, so choose one time to do it all. And for the sake of simplicity, I recommend keeping your log in the same place. For me, the best time to record everything is at night before bed. I actually keep my health log in my bathroom, so I can jot things down really quick at the end of the day.
- Be Consistent. This probably goes without saying, but consistency is key. Before you start, decide how long you are going to keep your log and commit to it. I recommend at least one month, but even a week or two can be incredibly helpful. The log is not something you're going to do forever, so do it well. You know yourself best, so set a realistic goal and keep your commitment.
- Be Honest. This is also pretty obvious, but it bears mentioning. You won't do yourself any favors by editing reality. Tell it how it is, because the more accurate and transparent you are with yourself, the more likely you are to get to the bottom of your headaches.
- Be Thorough. Just as you want to evaluate your whole body, you also want to pay attention to your whole life. Make sure that whatever planner you choose addresses the following areas: Diet, Exercise, Water Intake, Sleep, Stress, Medications, Aches and Pains, Other Bodily Concerns, Weather, and a Pain Scale. Remember, these can all be clues about what is going on in your body.
Chronic pain can leave you feeling really helpless, but one thing you do have control over is writing things down. You might not have the answers yet, but you can become an astute observer of your chronic pain. Information is power, and you are arming yourself with the knowledge you need to unlock your own healing.