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CatchMyPain Community and Pain Diary App to manage chronic illness

Catch your pain to get rid of it

Jul 03, 2014 3:46 AM

Pain has been a part of human life since the dawn of time. It is surprising therefore that the treatment of pain gained acceptance as part of medical teaching and research just in the past few decades. Chronic pain is no longer seen as a troublesome side effect, but as a serious disease on its own. In this context, there have been significant discussions about how medical professionals communicate with patients about their pain: How much responsibility does the patient have in the treatment of his or her pain? To what extent will the patient be involved in decisions? To what extent will you let the patient speak? The new practice of pain medicine puts patients and their needs at the center and recommends an individual approach to every history of suffering.

Pain diaries have been introduced as part of this new thinking and have come to be seen as a key element of pain management: Patients observe themselves, their environment and the course of their pain over time. This allows patterns to be revealed and interrelations identified, helping patients better understand their pain and to get a clearer or new picture of it. In addition, the diary can make it easier to explain the pain to a physician or therapist. This, in turn, has a positive impact on diagnosis and treatment.

In the past, such pain diaries have been kept on paper. Just recently, electronic pain diaries have emerged in the context of a general digitization of the medical world. Studies have made several convincing arguments in favor of the use of such electronic pain diaries, almost to the point of making them mandatory: The electronic diaries are convenient to use and save time and, as a result, patients are more consistent in maintaining them. The data can be easily collected,shared and analyzed, which benefits both medical practice and research. Patients who have kept an electronic pain diary and shared it with their physician report that treatment has been adapted and improved thanks to the insights gained from the diary. But most important is the realization that the use of an electronic pain diary increases patients' satisfaction.

But not only studies draw such an optimistic picture. Several CatchMyPain users have also reported very positive experiences: The diary makes a major contribution to understanding one's pain and the pain graph can directly and clearly show the effect of treatments. Particularly appreciated is the ability to indicate the location of the pain on a model of the human body. Many patients report that their doctors and therapists were thrilled to see their diaries. This view was also confirmed by the responses we have received directly from doctors and therapists: CatchMyPain is very promising, as it actually makes it easier to visualize the patient's pain, observe the success of a treatment and adjust it accordingly.

Have you already discussed your pain diary with your doctor or therapist? Have you shown it to a member of your family or a fellow sufferer? A problem shared is a problem halved, so the saying goes. It's true, isn't it?

What experiences have you had? Does keeping a pain diary help? What have you learned about yourself and your pain? What has your doctor learned about your pain problem? Do you feel that your pain is being taken seriously? Please share your comments. We are trying to improve CatchMyPain continuously.

Those are the articles about the impact of electronic pain diaries which were mentioned above:
Marceau, L.D. et al. (2007): Electronic Diaries as a Tool to Improve Pain Management: Is There Any Evidence? in Pain Medicine 8 (S3), pp.101-109. American Academy of Pain Medicine: Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Gaertner, J. et al. (2004): Electronic Pain Diary; a Randomised Crossover Study in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 28 (6), p.6. University of Cologne and University of Aachen: Germany.

Jul 04, 2014 12:18 PM

I have just come across this amazing idea of the pain diary - I have not seen my Rheumatologist yet but definatlely it will be very useful on next visit.Thank you for this idea, it's so good to have a platform with people of the same mind. It really helps to know that you are not alone even when people who are close to you don't understand your pain because there is no visible signs showing what you are going through.

Jul 04, 2014 12:24 PM

Can you explain how I draw my pain please.

Jul 04, 2014 12:57 PM

I did come across with the information of how to draw my pain. Thank you anyway......

Jul 04, 2014 3:46 PM

I told my doctor and physiotherapist, the doctor was interested and asked to see it next time I go, he refused my offer of sharing it.

The physio was VERY anti keeping pain diaries, he only sees the potential negative effect of making the patient feel worse over time. Especially if there's no distinct pattern and never seems to improve or gets worse.

Have to admit I agree with him on that aspect - I find keeping it updated makes me more aware of pain I may not have registered and looking back at the graph is a depressing picture.

However, the potential benefits of helping in research and helping my medical team to help me, is also a strong consideration.

I'm on the fence, there are pros and con's, time and trial will persuade me one way or the other.

Jul 09, 2014 2:28 AM

pain diary works for me, it helps track my activity and times im in pain. i look over it monthly and see my "good days" and "bad days". my dr refuses to read or look at it because im 26 and suffering 10 yrs now. "impossible for your age to have pain all day". if only drs could be us for a day.

Jul 09, 2014 6:07 AM

Jessica, keep tracking it, it will help you find a way to manage your future. it will help you in ten years from now to know what a lack of sleep, certain activities or even a simple change in diet may do. I'm sorry but stuff your doctor, with medical advances you never know what the future holds and this information may be inavluable in future treatment strategies. Please persist you could be contributing to helping other with this information too!

Jul 09, 2014 6:07 AM

Jessica, keep tracking it, it will help you find a way to manage your future. it will help you in ten years from now to know what a lack of sleep, certain activities or even a simple change in diet may do. I'm sorry but stuff your doctor, with medical advances you never know what the future holds and this information may be inavluable in future treatment strategies. Please persist you could be contributing to helping other with this information too!

Jul 14, 2014 11:00 AM

My Neurologist was so impressed by this app and absolutely LOVES it. She said she would share the idea of the app with her other patients as it is a great way to keep track of daily pain and location. thank you!!

Jul 21, 2014 10:11 AM

Thank you all for your valuable feedback! We are happy to hear that the pain diary helped many of you and that some of your medical care providers are using the app with other patients as well. At the same time it is also very important to understand the hesitations. We are currently working on adding more features that should give you additional value beyond the existing ones. Please keep on giving us feedback and also feel free to let us know what we can improve. Thank you, your CatchMyPain team

Jul 26, 2014 10:34 AM

CatchMyPain has not only helped me to better understand what is happening with my body but it also helps the professionals and my insurance company to better understand what is happening and what I am experiencing.

I know, on a daily basis, what pain I have experienced through the day, but what I don't remember too well on my own is how I am doing compared to weeks or months previously. This program allows me to see how well adjustments to my medications are performing by the use of the graphs that display levels and uses layering to understand relationships between pain and moods, etc. The graphs allow me to understand my mental status and whether there are any correlations with the medications, pain levels and moods. I have had some issues with some medications that impact my mental health, such as Lyrica. It was reasonably effective in reducing my nerve pain but caused me all kinds of side effects, one of which was my mood. The graphs allowed my doctor to understand why I didn't want to continue with using Lyrica as a solution to my chronic pain.

The reports generated that you can email to others allows me to share with my insurance company how well I am doing on a regular basis. I send them a monthly report and I think this has allowed them to better understand my issues and why I can no longer work. I think there are many people who fake back pain and abuse the insurance benefits. I think the insurance company sees whats happening with me from my regular diary inputs and that reduces their concern on whether the insurance claim is legitimate or not.

Thank you again to the staff at CatchMyPain for providing this great tool for the world to use.

Jul 30, 2014 7:11 PM

I have kept paper diary with diagrams for years but docs and therapists just glance at them. I am hoping this will help me and new docs therapists.

Sep 29, 2014 9:21 AM

i too have found the pain diary helpful in explaining my pain to my health team and have only had positive feedback from them. and gives me a valuable insight as to how my pain fluctuates. By using the comments section i can evaluate how different strategies have or have not been helpful and modify accordingly. Thank you for this valuable tool

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