If you suffer from fibromyalgia, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to track your symptoms. Tracking is an important tool in your treatment, as it provides a level of detail that can enhance communication with your doctor and allow him or her to develop a more effective treatment plan. You may find that tracking allows you to express your feelings as you cope with the challenges of fibromyalgia. Finally, because progress can be incremental, tracking allows you to see how far you’ve come. Here are four tools you can use to track your symptoms.
Keep a Written Journal
You don’t need a smartphone or even a computer to get started with tracking — you just need a pen and paper. One benefit of keeping a fibromyalgia journal is that you can structure it any way you like. You may want to create a list of frequent symptoms and rate them from 1 to 10 based on how severe they are on a given day. Or, you might prefer to write long-form entries about the emotions you’re experiencing.
Whatever format you choose, try to focus on what triggers your symptoms and what techniques and strategies you find most helpful in alleviating them. Try setting daily or weekly goals for yourself, and track your progress in achieving them.
Chronic Pain Tracker
If you prefer to use an app to track your symptoms, you have several choices. Chronic Pain Tracker offers a range of helpful features for iOS users, including 19 modules for specific things like pain triggers, onset speed, and color-coded indicators for pain location and intensity. Graphs and milestones give you a visual representation of your progress.
When it’s time to see your doctor, you can print entries directly from the app, share them via email, or export and synchronize them via Dropbox.
Android users have an excellent symptom-tracking option in FibroMapp. It offers tracking for specific symptoms. These include things like pain and fatigue, as well as journal functionality so you can express yourself and add context. Use the sleep tracker to identify connections between your sleeping patterns and symptoms. Set alarms to remind you to take your medications, and note how well each is working for you.
Like Chronic Pain Tracker, FibroMapp provides you with charts and graphs to help organize your entries. It also allows you to print or email them for easy consultation with your doctor.
WebMD Pain Coach
Keep it simple with the WebMD Pain Coach, free for both iOS and Android devices. The app has presets for many chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia. More importantly, it has the benefit of being associated with the most trusted health and wellness sites on the Internet. Like the other apps, Pain Coach allows you to track pain levels and triggers and create reports to share with your doctor. You also get tips and health goal ideas to help keep you motivated.
Tracking your fibromyalgia symptoms is a powerful way to take control of your health. Talk to your doctor about incorporating tracking into your treatment, and try these tools to find what works best for you.