RESOURCES: Apps to help with managing chronic illness
We all need a little help managing our lives, and especially our chronic pain conditions. Sometimes it overwhelms me to think about my meds, exercise, eating right, and all the other “should do’s” associated with living with a chronic illness. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who feels this way, so a bunch people much smarter than I have made lots of chronic illness apps. I’ve highlighted several below.
Caveat: some of these apps are only available for iOS or Android, but not both.
My Pain Diary: I don’t use this app, but I know it’s very popular, so I’ll let a user who posted on The Mighty (a website you should definitely check out), talk about it. Other pain tracking apps include Catch My Pain, Manage My Pain, Chronic Pain Tracker, Fibromapp, Pain Tricks (helps if you’re scared about a medical procedure or even a blood draw), and WebMD Pain Coach.
You can log your pain score each day (you know that your doctors are going to ask) – but it does much more than that. In addition, it tracks the weather, so you can see if your pain scores change with the weather, and it allows you to track more than one condition at the same time.
You can then check off location, type, trigger, remedy for pain and even set more metrics that you may want to track. Each of those metrics is customizable, so you may have pain in your leg and want to differentiate between pain in your foot, calf, knee or thigh. You can put those into the location category. Maybe you
get different types of pain: burning, dull, and throbbing, you can enter all of those under the “type” entry.
There is a place for you to write notes and the ability to take a photo and add that to a daily entry. The best part, to me, is that you can send the info to your computer and either email it or print it out for your doctor.
Some other medication trackers include MedCoach, MedicineList+, Pillboxie, and DoseCast.
Medisafe: This is one of many medication trackers. It lets you enter each medication you take and the frequency you take it each day. Then it will remind you to take it at the pre-set time. You can also use it to count the pills you have left in your bottle, which then helps you know when to order a refill.
Medisafe will give you information about each of your medications and interactions (of course you should get your primary info from your doctor or pharmacist, but it can provide a useful reminder). You can even get a compliance report, if you want to know how well you have been doing on sticking to your medication regimen.
These apps help with things you do at home to manage your condition, like yoga, music therapy, and more. Some apps not expanded upon here include HeadSpace, SmilingMind, YogAmazing, Accupressure: Heal Yourself, Simply Being, and TrackNShare.
eMTCP Music App: The American Chronic Pain Association reports on the eMTCP music pain app which was developed by researchers at the University of Malaga. Music therapy has long been shown to be an effective therapy for reducing chronic pain symptoms. This pain app allows you try this therapy directly from your phone, whether on your commute or while getting ready for bed.
Other apps not listed here include Diet Assistant, Fitocracy, Paprika (this is a cooking app geared to foodies but would work great if you’re on a special diet), BigOven, and Fooducate.
MyFitnessPal: MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular and widely used of the diet apps that work, due in part to its features and ease of use. This app is used as a weight loss tool, tracking daily food consumption and exercise. With a database of over five million different foods, it is easy to track your daily calorie consumption over time. Exercises can also be tracked, either by selecting an exercise from a list or describing it. This app is free, available for both Android and iOS phones, and offers a supportive community online.
For other apps, try SimplyNoise.
SleepCycle: This app is available for both Android and Apple phones for 99 cents. SleepCycle tracks your sleeping patterns over several days and then uses that data when you set your alarm clock. Then it wakes you only during your lightest level of sleep. This prevents grogginess upon awakening.
I think we can all agree that FitBit has cornered the market here, but others worth noting are MotionX 24/7, MapMyFitness (only for working out, really), and Argus.
FitBit: Fitbit tracks every part of your day—including activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. I have a FitBit and I love it for tracking several of the things I’m supposed to be paying attention to. I especially like the sleep tracker, but let’s face it, the pedometer is a major motivator (though studies have shown some people are actually DE-motivated by it, so your mileage may vary). You can customize everything, look at results over time, etc. FitBit has a bunch of different products based on your wants and needs, though I will admit they are a little pricey.
What have I missed? Do you have a favorite app? Tell me in the comments section!