National Migraine Centre
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How long should you keep a diary for?

I found out last year year I may be suffering from Basilar type migraine after 4 years of mainly chronic vertigo attacks (can be brought on by light & noise or just happen suddenly, usually lasting for days and weeks), pain & ringing in my ears. Meniere's was suspected but rulled out after 3 years I had not suffered any hearing loss.

A Nuerologest in September suspected I therefore was suffering from basilar type migraine. I never suffered from anything other than the occassional head ache until about 3 months ago when I believe I have started suffering from migraine pain also.

I feel a lot of pressure in my head like someone is pulling my ponytail constantly & cannot stand even dull light - I walk home from work at midnight & would wear my sunglasses if I wasn't worried about the attention they would draw to me.

I was taking amitriptyline (15mg) for the past year and a half & topiramate (100mg) since January. Since I had seen the consultant he recommended comming of the amitriptyline, but allowed me to stay on it as it was the only thing that I felt had ever help, even if it was only slightly with the vertigo attacks. I tried propranolol before topiramate, but found myself staring into space for too much of the day.

I'm not sure where these headache migraines have come from but my GP has given my a referal back to the consultant and I thought it might be a good idea to go back with a diary. I do not have a date yet and expect it to be a few months away at least. I kept a very basic diary in April when the headaches started, but is it really worth keeping something so deatiled the whole way until my appointment or just a snippet for him to look at. It looks like its all quite detailed info and I don't want to spend hours on something that won't be looked at.

Thank you

5 Replies

ive kept a diary for 6 yrs and take it each time i see the consutant. if you go on the MIGRAINE CENTRE te they have diarires for you to fill in with the rquired info!!x


Thanks neither my GP or consultant have mentioned diaries so I am just a bit worried they won't be interested. If anything it will help me explain how to I am feeling and coping better as that can often be difficult to get across.


Hi there

Sorry to hear you have basilar. I too am a basilar and a vestibular migraineur, I have been for over 30 years.

I have been keeping a diary since March as I am a chronic migraineur right now. Now and then I slip a bit, but it is worth keeping as it helps you to see any patterns or links which might trigger attacks. It's doesn't offer a remedy, but it helps you see the positives when they happen and indicates if the meds you are on are having any impact in reduction of any of the symptoms/occurrance rate.

My GP isn't interested in diaries at all, however the NMC will welcome it, my neuro-otologist wasn't interested in the diary I had kept, but did want me to do a diary on vertigo occurances.

Detail: I think the main information is what level of migraine you have,what meds you take and also to note the dizzy/vertigo days. As you probably already know, you don't always have to have migraine head pain to have vertigo. Sometimes I've used them to list the pro-drome and different types of aura, but I suspect that kind of detail isn't probably required after the first 3 months or so, but it is very useful in getting an accurate diagnosis.

Do you experience a change in the level of consciousness/fainting/absences?

Best wishes


Thanks for the info Saffronbread. My last visit with the ENT consultant 2 years ago was when he first suspected migraines and thought it was vestibular migraine. I then asked my GP for a referral to a neurologist - he actually told me there was not such thing as vestibular migraine and it was just a term used for a set of symptoms that could not be allocated to a specific condition. I was told I because my MRI was fine I was not a concern and he would write to my GP about other medications I could try.

That was in September, it was only in January I found out that he had diagnosed me with basilar type migraine as he had wrote in the letter to my GP, who had assumed he had told me this at my appointment. I always thought it strange that he said there was no such thing as vestibular migraine when I read all about them online.

I have never fainted before at any point in my life (27 now). I'm not sure what you mean by level of consciousness or absences?


Yes we welcome diaries, ideally those on our website: for at least a month to give us an idea, but keeping one constantly helps both you and your doctor manage the condition better so is worth doing. I assure you, if you come to us with a diary, we will look at it!


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