It is always a good idea to keep a pain diary to show your doctor, but this is always something I have struggled with as there is too much information to relay but where to start? Especially when you are using a blank pad or diary, my mind goes blank when staring at a blank page. The hospital have gave me a couple of sheets of blank body shapes to fill in where I feel the pain but these only last for the amount you are given, unless you photocopy them but the amount of paper and ink that you would need to go through would be never ending.
I was discussing this with my Doc at my last hospital appointment and she told me that there are apps that I could use to record my pain data. Something I had never thought about searching the App Store for! The app that I have found best is called Chronic Pain Tracker, as there is so much additional add ons and it is free which is a bonus.
The tracking add ins include Pain Triggers, Pain Onset Speed, Pain Intensity Level, Pain Descriptions, Pain Location Mapping ( blank bodies to colour, with different colours for different levels of pain, and a muscular and skeletal system), Pain Duration, Medication Tracking, Other Symptoms, Mental State, Fatigue Level, Sleep History, Milestones and even a Weather Tracker to show if weather affects your pain and how! This makes recording all the important information so much easier and quicker. In a blank diary I would never have noted all these different things. Also because I have more than one health problem I would need to keep several diaries but with this app I can keep it all in one place and the prompts help me remember what is important. I love that you can tailor all the lists to you personally by changing the names of things that don’t affect you with things that does, so you can edit add or remove to make it yours.
When writing a diary, I would write in it once a day in the evening but by doing this I was ommitting things that had happened throughout the day due to forgetfulness but with the app it is so much easier to record things as they happen, meaning your not forgetting things. Now I could have wrote things in my diary as they happened but this is very difficult to do for several reasons being 1. I didn’t carry the diary on me at all times, so if I fell in the bathroom my diary would be in the livingroom so unable to get to it until someone helps me up 2. after falling the last thing you are thinking about is sitting, bending over writing as my back would not be up to it but also my mind is foggy after falling so I wouldn’t remember to do it and 3. Even if I did remember to write in the diary, my mind would go blank as to what was important to write. So with this app it is always with me so if I fall in the bathroom then I can fill in the app entry whilst sitting waiting for someone to help me up and tapping a few things on an app is much easier on my back than writing.
I have only been using the app a few days and already don’t know what I would do without it! I like that it automatically creates a graph so you can see your progress at a glance and you can also email the whole diary to your Doc, so they can see what you go through every day and what your pain triggers are and hopefully with all this extra information they can maybe treat you more hollistically and reduce some symptoms. Also shows which medication is working and which is not.
Whilst searching for this app I found a few others for pain tracking but they all had something’s and not others which is why I opted for this one as it has everything I need. When searching I also found apps for sleep diaries and incontinence diaries so if you need to keep a diary for your doctor then it’s definately worth having a look in the App Store as there is probably a diary for you.
When I was a child, this was something they would have had in Star Trek! It is great that we have these available as not only does it track my pain but also it doesn’t add to my pain like writing does.
May the force be with you!