Symptoms diary, good idea?

Hi all. I just wanted to ask, in peoples experience is it a good idea to keep a symptoms diary to show the doctor. I ask because I went to th doctor recently with TN pain and wrote down all the other strange symptoms I could remember. When I showed the list to the Dr they seemed a little peeved. And advised that we wouldnt have time to go through all these things in a single appointment. I said that I thought they may all be linked as they all seem to be possibly neurological. TN, numbness, random pains, jerks, etc but the doc brushed this off. And I was nearly fobbed off with advice to go back to dentist for the TN as dental pain. I did stick to my guns on this and came away with script for gabapentin which has helped. Thanks in advance for any advice

yes it is a good idea to keep a symptom diary.

have you been referred to a neuro?

the diary will come in very handy when you see one.

your doctor seems quite abrupt.

if there are lots of doctors at your surgery, request an appointment to see a different one.

go through them all and if none will actually listen, see the practice manager about this.

carole x

It’s a really good idea to keep a symptoms diary. I’ve kept a health diary for 7 years now and refer back to it (it’s an app on my iPad and phone) in appointments. Most doctors actually appreciate the fact that I can refer back to previous dates and track symptoms.

But, sometimes the list you end up with is so long the doctor just sees the length and knows they just don’t have the time to address every point on the list.

So, don’t be discouraged. Keep adding to the diary, note how long symptoms last and whether any completely recover, or some stay with you.

Best of luck.


Personally I would be cautious not to present a lengthy list to a neurologist. By all means keep a diary but be selective about what you bring on paper, by focussing on the group of symptoms that most obviously stand out as abnormal and which exercise you most, and he may ask you specifically about other symptoms. A scattergun approach could undermine credibility though I am not suggesting you would do that. Also be wary that a risk from making regular diary entries and regularly going back over them means that you wont forget anything you note even if it was transitory and would ordinarily have soon been forgotten but the diary might re-condition you to a level of introspection or hyper awareness of your body of the sort that can magnify into conscious awareness the ordinary sensory ‘noise’ we are normally conditioned to ignore and cause it to be felt as a symptom.

Hi Si73,

Definitely keep a symptom/appointment/purchasing aids/ change of medication etc diary. It’s one of the first things I recommend people to do .

I wouldn’t take mine to the Dr but it was invaluable when I was filling in my PIP application,. Filling in the living allowance part I could give exact dates of when I bought my walking stick/ perching stool/ rubber handled knives/ bath step with handle which showed I was having to rely on more and more aids as my MS progressed.

I even photocopied some pages. Assessor probably awarded it to me for dedication to my MS!

Keep well