Guest post by: Thomas Jought – Personal Trainer and Nutritionist
You might be thinking, “How can an app possibly help me manage my chronic pain? I mean my medication is just keeping it at bay, this sounds ridiculous!”
But before you dismiss the idea, hear me out. While medication can mask your pain, pain management apps can help you better understand and manage your triggers for chronic pain.
According to the Pain Doctor, an authority on the subject; by tracking those painful events, you can not only discover and reduce their causes, but you can also optimize the timing of your medication. Ultimately, this assists in the management and reduction of your chronic pain.
In fact, this approach is seen to be even more useful in chronic illnesses where people have unique or individualized triggers for their pain. In one study, participants used a paper-based diary to record their migraine triggers and experiences.
Researchers examined these events and were able to “generate an individual factor-attack association profile for 87% of the patients”.
They concluded that this methodology was useful not only for identifying, testing, and finding true triggers, but also for the development of trigger avoidance/desensitisation strategies.
While researchers in this study found this type of methodology to be useful in treating people with migraines, it can also be useful for managing any type of chronic pain.
Fortunately for us, we no longer need to carry a pen and paper around to reap the same benefits, we have an app for that! Pain management apps have been developed to streamline and enhance this recording process.
This enables you to track/note events that led up to sudden pain or discomfort. They can be a convenient way to judge and manage the effectiveness of herbal supplements and prescription medication.
Noting when the pain arises, subsides, or lingers can assist you and your doctor in refining your use of medication. Furthermore, this type of recorded information can also be quite useful for your doctor(s) in the early stages of diagnosing chronic illness.
Top 3 Pain Management Apps
FibroMapp has been designed by people with fibromyalgia, initially for people with fibromyalgia. But due to its useful features, it is also great for managing just about any type of chronic pain.
From isolated to multiple painful areas, FibroMapp can help you keep an organized diary, tracking each trigger and painful event.
Recording details such as; the level of pain experienced, what body part you experienced it in, what you were doing just before/while you experienced it, and the time you took your medication for relief.
FibroMapp also has a handy sleep tracker that monitors your sleeping patterns, featuring a quick diary entry tool that can assist you with recording pain experienced in the middle of the night.
The app is available on both Android and Apple for the price of $2.99.
WebMD Pain Coach is a pain management app designed by the team over at WebMD.com. If you don’t already know them, they are one of the biggest websites that freely provide a wealth of medical information.
The website is often used to help diagnose an illness and to find more information about drug and supplement usage. The app does well to build on this knowledge base, providing access to its large library of useful tips and information for managing chronic pain.
WebMD Pain Coach takes a similar calendar/diary approach to FibroMapp but refines the reporting layout, giving you the option to customize your own calendar entries by choosing which fields you need to fill out.
Ultimately, you are able to personalize entries according to the needs of your chronic illness. It is this type of versatility that makes WebMD Pain Coach a conveniently useful app that can assist you in the management of chronic pain.
WebMD Pain Coach is free on both Android and Apple.
My Pain Diary is one of the most comprehensive pain management apps on the market. Its features build on similar functionality as WebMD Pain Coach and FibroMapp but refines its layout to the point where tools are extremely easy to use and information naturally flows onto the screen.
My Pain Diary is built around a calendar that logs painful events by colour. This colour-coded approach enables an at-a-glance review of your calendar information.
It also helps with understanding reports that you can create on the fly. For example, you can compile your year, month, or week’s experiences into graphs, tables, and charts. These reports are great not only for your own personal knowledge, but also when collaborating with your doctor to manage your chronic pain.
My Pain Diary is available on both Android and Apple for the price of $4.99.
Before You Download
It is worthwhile noting that a portion of these types of apps are developed without the involvement of a health care professional.
Often these tools are developed by others who are also experiencing chronic pain. While these apps are certainly useful, the advice they give should be taken lightly, and, when in doubt, ask your doctor.
Furthermore, pain management apps work best as a way to provide essential data and information to your health care team when you visit them for professional advice.