Why You Need To Keep A Health Log
Before I became a parent, I used to work as a therapist for kids with special needs and behavioral issues. It was a tough and rewarding job, and there was a saying in the biz that went, "If you can predict it, you can prevent it." My coworkers and I strove to be experts of prevention. As keen observers of the kids' behaviors, we looked for patterns and predictabilities, in order to create proactive plans to redirect their behavior in positive ways.
Needless to say, it was not an easy task.
The reality was that we couldn't always prevent a kid from having a meltdown, just like you can't always prevent yourself from having a headache. Sometimes things happen, despite your best efforts, and you do your best with what you have to work with.
But I'll tell you what. My body, with its crazy pain cycles, sometimes feels an awful like those sweet yet challenging kids I worked with. It is hyper-sensitive to stress, overreacting to the slightest hint of a toxin or stressor. It goes into crisis mode at the slightest provocation, and has a hard time bouncing back once the pain has begun.
With this being the case, I try to adopt the spirit of that old motto as much as I can. Prevention is key. Yet when it came to the ol' Headache Log, it took me quite a while before I actually decided to keep one. Up until that point, it hadn't really felt necessary. I was already gluten free and things had been going well. Then I had a major setback, and suddenly everything I was doing stopped working. I had a recurring headache that kept coming back, and I was stuck again.
These are the moments when it's time to get scientific. When you are stuck in a pain cycle, one of the few things you do have control over is your ability to record your behaviors. You might not be able to fix the problem yet, but you can observe your pain cycle and collect data like a champ.
The reason you need to keep track of things is because memory is not a dependable friend when it comes to chronic pain. Memory is interpretive and selective, compiling subjective overviews of situations and events that may or may not be entirely accurate.
I quickly discovered that my memory is in cahoots with my inner saboteur. I think they're inside my head having a tea party and inventing millions of ways to justify all my little compromises along the way. I thought I was walking the straight and narrow, but as soon as I started writing things down, I had to be honest with myself and face the facts.
When you keep a Headache Log, you are becoming a detective of your chronic pain. You are assessing the conditions of your life with the cool, calculating discernment of a scientist. And if you stick with it long enough, the answers will appear.
For me, this is where the rubber met the road. I was able to narrow in on all of the problem areas and red flags, and come up with more effective strategies for getting out of pain. This is why I recommend a Headache Log as the most logical place to start. Armed with accurate information, you will be ready to formulate your Headache-free Plan.