Keep Headaches in the Palm of Your Hand

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As bestselling author and one of the world’s leading technology experts, Daniel Burns offers one rule for every group, business and organization out there—Give your audience the ability to do what they want, before they realize they want to do it. This may seem odd piece of advice for someone with chronic migraines; however take into consideration the general idea.

What could we do to help you manage, track and eliminate your migraines? What tools or resources do you not have at your finger tips already? The answer seemed simple to us: you do already have the answer at your finger tips: your Smartphone.

As technology continues to grow and shape our daily lives, we thought it would be a good idea to include new advancements in mobile migraine tracking to help our patients, readers and anyone else who stumbles upon our advice. On our website—http://www.angelsneuro.com—we already offer a few resources for patients to be able to help manage and observe their migraine patterns: print-out headache journals, trigger lists and a whole slew of information about the causes and possible remedies for these debilitating attacks. However, migraines don’t abide by timelines. They can happen when you are at the grocery store, when you’re at school or work; in fact—rarely do headaches occur when you are in the comfort of your own home with a pen or pencil in hand. The truth is you’re mobile. Your headache tracking should be mobile too.

That’s why Angels has chosen to search the web and App stores for mobile headache tracking tools for you to keep your health in the palm of your hand. Here’s what we found:

  1. My Migraine Triggers— this free app is provided by Novartic Consumer Health, Inc. and Excedrin pain medication. It allows you to record the time, date, length, severity, location, sensitivity/exposure to exterior stimulation (noise, light, smog, etc), food consumed prior to the attack and other symptoms in a 6-step user-friendly process.  From your responses, the app helps you not only track and record your head aches, but will actually graph your experiences, helping you visually see what may be causing your headaches. This app is funded by Novartis and Excedrin, so keep that in mind while using this app, as it will advise you to try the drug for headache relief. We don’t recommend taking any drugs before consulting your physician. However, we give this app and A for usability, visual representation and comprehensive analysis.
  2. iHeadache—this free App is available to iPhone users only it seems, but it is funded by BetterQOL, a patient advocacy group that specializes in headache, migraine and MS—so it’s a little less biased than the add funded by Excedrin. It covers all of the same functions as My Migraine Triggers with a slightly different, less user friendly interface. It was also hard to find a visual representation of your overall health. This app does give you your MIDAS (Migraine Disability Assessment Scale) score and uses the International Headache Society Criteria. Basically, it had all the same capabilities with a little less sizzle and too much back-and-forth to record an episode.
  3. 101 Headache Prevention Tips—though I try to stay away from paid apps, this $4 app may be worth the price. It actually helps patients learn more about the types of headaches there are how to manage stress and other triggers to avoid or prevent headaches and even gives tips on what substances could be triggers. I’m a big fan of patient education. The more you know the better you’ll be able to manage your health—and that’s exactly what this app does. It’s not a typical headache tracking device, but it may prove to be more helpful in the long run. Not all of the advice is scientifically proven, and I would consult your doctor before starting any of the proactive measures detailed in this app. However, it never hurts to learn to channel and manage stress.

Keep in mind, that no app or technological advance should take the place of your doctor—and we don’t encourage patients to stop seeing their physician; ignore their physician’s advice or orders. Be sure to share all records and observations you may have about your health and any changes with your physician, as he or she may have recommendations for you. At the end of the day, your doctor knows best!

For more information on headaches, to schedule an appointment with one of our neurologists, or see some of our headache management tips, be sure to visit http://www.angelsneuro.com !

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