Chronic pain patients are often reminded that tracking their pain is a good way to predict flare-ups or to pinpoint causes. Other than keeping a pen-and-paper record of everything eaten and all activity, there are few effective ways of tracking episodes of chronic pain. Additionally, it can be hard to connect the dots between food/activity and chronic pain. New pain trackers and pain diary apps are changing all of that. Here are 29 of our favorite chronic pain apps, from trackers to medication reminders.
10 pain trackers and diaries
CatchMyPain is one of the most well-known pain apps not only for its helpful features but also for the way in which it builds community. With this pain app, patients can locate their pain on their body; track stress, fatigue, and mood; and connect with their physician, all through the app. CatchMyPain also has a forum feature that connects chronic pain patients to each other. In addition, doctors and researchers are studying anonymous data from users to find areas of focus for research and treatment. This pain app is available for Android and iOS phones for $3.99.
My Pain Diary not only tracks patient data but also uses it to make potential connections between certain reported events (even weather) and pain flare-ups. This pain app uses color coding to make it easy to read. It also automatically gathers weather data from the user’s location. Pain patients can send this data to their doctor, or they can choose to keep certain parts of their reports private. Users can attach photos to share with their physician and can also set medication and appointment reminders.
My Pain Diary is $4.99 and is available for both Android and iOS phones.
PainScale is a newer app that has been developed with the needs of today’s chronic pain patients in mind. It helps you log your symptoms, but it also provides access to a wealth of insights and content targeted for your condition. Included pain conditions include chronic pain, lower back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, nerve pain, and more. You’ll also find easy-to-create reports for your doctor, as well as daily health tips for living a full life with chronic pain.
PainScale is free, and available for both Android and iOS phones.
Manage My Pain is a free pain app for Android phones that allows you to track symptoms and create easy-to-read charts and other data to show family and friends. For chronic pain patients who feel alone or as if their family and friends don’t quite understand their struggle, this app can give them the data to better explain their condition.
While the “lite” version of this pain diary app is free, there is a “pro” version of Manage My Pain that has more detailed and comprehensive tracking tools for $3.99.
As with Manage My Pain, Chronic Pain Tracker offers a free “lite” version for both Android and iOS and a “pro” version for $3.99. Both versions allow users to keep a pain diary in 19 different categories, such as pain intensity, triggers, and duration. The app can create a .pdf of data to share with the doctor, or users can sync their data to a Dropbox that they can share electronically.
The “pro” version offers no limits on pain diary entries and is more complete, but even the “lite” version is loaded with useful tools for pain patients.
FibroMapp takes the best of sleep tracking and pain tracker apps and puts them together in one app, available for $2.99 for both Android and iOS phones. This pain app tracks quantity and quality of sleep, daily experience of pain, and amount and type of medications. FibroMapp offers a .pdf report to share with your doctor as well and can display up to one year’s worth of charts and graphs that detail the record of pain.
This pain app comes from WebMD and is free for both Android and iOS phones. WebMD Mobile Pain Coach offers users the option of locating their pain on their body, keeping a diary of symptoms and triggers, and printing customized reports for the doctors. WebMD is also focused on patient education and provides users articles filled with tips on eating, exercise, treatments, rest and relaxation, and moods.
8. Pain Coach Application for veterans
This pain tracker app is focused on providing self-assessment tests and recommendations for veterans and their caregivers in pain. It also provides educational materials and other pain management tools. In this pain app, you can document the type of pain you’re experiencing, its severity, location, and its impact on your daily activities. You can even set reminders to record your pain levels.
This app from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, is specifically targeted to help teens who suffer from chronic pain. This pain app focuses on incorporating home-therapies into the active management of pain. That includes relaxation techniques, exercise, school participation, sleep, and self-care basics. This app is available in the iTunes store. You can find other pain apps for children here.
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Pain (for UK citizens)
This pain tracker is only available for citizens in the UK, but it promises to use big data to effectively track how weather affects pain. You’ll be able to track your own pain and contribute to ongoing research efforts.
6 pain apps for at-home therapies
Pain apps can help you stay current and on-target with any home therapies you’re using to combat your pain. We’ve got our favorites, with apps for yoga, meditation, music, and acupressure.
10. 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.
Meditation has been proven over and over again to be one of the best at-home therapies for chronic pain. This free app starts you off with “Take 10.” It’s a daily series of ten, ten-minute meditations. You can download this fantastic and accessible meditation app for use offline, which can be helpful when you find yourself in an internet dead zone. Headspace also offers additional meditations for purchase as well as more specialized meditation journeys for better sleep, reducing depression or anxiety, cultivating change, or finding more energy.
12. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind’s slogan is “meditation made easy.” It was specifically developed for adolescents by a group of mental health professionals. This app aims to help young people deal with depression, anxiety, and stress through simple mindfulness meditation practices, all of which are huge components of a chronic pain diagnosis. This is a free but invaluable tool for a lifetime of calm.
Yoga is a practice that can be incredibly helpful for chronic pain patients. Yoga, like mindfulness meditation, can help focus and direct the body’s energy away from chronic pain and toward healing. This app aims to teach people, from beginner through expert levels, how to use yoga in their day lives. Most lessons are only ten to 15 minutes long. It costs $4.99 through iTunes and allows you to download yoga podcasts directly to your device.
Acupressure is a non-invasive healing technique that can relieve stress and tension. This pain management app can help guide you to specific points on your body depending on your symptoms. When done correctly, this may help relieve nerve pain. Acupressure: Heal Yourself is available for iPhones only and costs $1.99.
This app goes far beyond simple diet changes and even chronic pain management. TracknShare is focused on building healthy, lifelong habits by tracing current patterns in sleep, exercise, pain, and even bowel movements. TracknShare allows you to follow whatever part of your life you would like to improve, offering you tweaks and tools for better holistic health. The app allows you to choose the manner in which you would like to track your habits (i.e., per day or per hour) and also offers space for your own notes.
8 pain apps to help you remember medications
An estimated 45 to 55% of adults taking medications fail to comply with their treatment, with 77,000 adults in a recent survey admitting that they did not take their medications as directed. This can lead to issues or reduced pain management. New mobile apps make remembering your pills easier than ever. The best medication reminders are timely, convenient, and require very little maintenance. If you lose your phone or tablet, it is easy enough to log in on another device to keep track of your medications. Most of the mobile pain apps for medication reminders are free, and they all come with some sort of alert system that is easy to set up and use.
Available on iTunes and free for Apple devices, this application not only reminds you to take your pain medications on time throughout the day, but can also connect to your pharmacy so you don’t forget to refill a prescription before it is too late.
If you use an Android device, there is a similar app available in the Google Play store. This visual app is easy to use and can sync with other devices in your household so everyone in your family can better remember their medication management.
Available for both platforms, this medication management solution can help you customize your medications and remind you when the prescription has nearly run out.
This app is a wraparound mobile app that not only tracks medications and issues reminders but also has a number of other features that help seniors live full, independent lives. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame found that seniors who track their daily activity and medication for three to seven months experienced a greater comfort and literacy with the technology. In addition, one senior saw a decreased risk of depression, and all seniors had more interpersonal interaction during the pilot study.
This mobile app is less focused on medication reminders and more to do with rating different types of medications. While we firmly believe in following doctor’s orders, there is definitely a place for a review of different types of over-the-counter cold remedies or throat lozenges. Available for free on iOS devices, Iodine can be a great way to try before you buy when it comes to treating coughs, colds, and allergies.
PillPack, available for iOS devices, automatically updates your prescription information whenever you need it. This easy-to-use mobile app also orders your medications for you and has them delivered to your door. PillPack even contacts your doctor when it’s time for a refill.
One of Medhelper’s best features is also its most obvious one: you can use this one mobile app to set up medication reminders for more than one person. This is especially helpful if you are a caretaker or have multiple family members coping with illness. It’s free for Android devices. You can also record when pills were taken, pharmacy information, and any appointments you have.
4 pain apps for diet
Managing your diet can help you avoid pain triggers, lose weight that can lead to more stress on your body, and reduce inflammation. These four pain apps can help, whatever your diet goals.
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.
24. Diet Assistant
Many of these diet and weight loss apps have many of the same functions: they track calories in and exercise. Diet Assistant goes a couple steps further, placing it high on the list of diet apps that work. Available at no cost for both Android and iOS phones, Diet Assistant not only tracks diet and exercise but also has the following bonus features:
- Creates customized diet plans
- Helps build shopping lists for the plan you select
- Calculates BMI
- Offers weight loss tips
The premium version allows you to send your records to your email, but the free version has plenty of features on its own.
This highly motivational app won the Men’s Health top fitness app award in 2014, and with good reason. Log on to Fitocracy and be greeted by FRED, the Fitocracy Rewards Exercise Droid who serves as a cheerleader and coach. Fitocracy offers badges and icons to reward progress towards a goal that you set with FRED. In addition, for $30 a month, Fitocracy offers a fitness assessment, personalized nutrition plans, and customized workouts based on your goals and baseline fitness. Both the free and premium versions offer access to daily articles and online forums for positive, community support.
This is one of the diet apps that work because it doesn’t just track calories and monitor consumption. Fooducate’s goal is to “empower you to achieve your diet, health, and fitness goals.” This app does that by actually educating the user on what healthy food choices are and how to make them consistently. Fooducate has features like a daily rating of food quality, barcode scanner for the grocery store, and featured user recipes. The staff at Fooducate also publishes daily tips and educational blogs so that users gain more knowledge about healthy eating in general. The online forums feature before and after pictures along with advice and support from an engaged and enthusiastic community. This app is free for Android and iOS phones.
2 pain diary apps that help you sleep
Finally, sleep is a good indicator of pain levels. While these apps don’t track episodes of pain specifically, users can use them to determine how restful they have been at night. Often, a poor night’s sleep means a challenging day to follow. These sleep apps can help you recognize that and take preventative measures (e.g., scheduling a nap or an extra restful time in the afternoon).
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.
28. Simply Noise
Sometimes all chronic pain patients need for a good night’s sleep is a little ambient noise, especially if they are living in a city or other area with sudden noises. Simply Noise costs far less than a standard white noise machine. And it only takes up a phone-sized space on the nightstand. This app is available for Android and iOS phones.
Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million people annually. It costs the U.S. approximately $635 billion dollars annually in lost wages and productivity. Many of these pain apps are free, but even if they aren’t, they are worth the small price tag (less than the deductible for one office visit!). And while more research needs to be done into how these pain apps can help patients, simply beginning the work of tracking your pain can help you make better reports at doctor visits and avoid triggers.
If you need more targeted help for your pain management, click the button below to find a pain specialist in your area! They can work with you to diagnose your pain and suggest therapies that could work.
(Note: This post has been updated with new apps in July 2017)