For most of us, our smartphones are always nearby. This makes it the perfect tool to use for tracking arthritis pain and symptoms throughout the day.
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There are several apps for phones and tablets that help you keep tabs on how your symptoms and medications are affecting you throughout the day. Other apps are available for a fee, but the free options give you plenty of functionality and ease of use to choose from.
These are 3 of my favorite free apps:
- MyRA by Crescendo Bioscience, Inc. Download from the iTunes App Store.
- RheumaTrack RA by axovis GmbH. Download from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
- TRACK + REACT by Arthritis Foundation. Download from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
These apps have covered all the basics of tracking arthritis symptoms; you can track joint pain and stiffness throughout each day, with reminders to check in. They also feature reminders to take medication and the ability to create reports and charts to share with your physician.
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Each app has unique qualities
- MyRA, available only for Apple products, is the easiest app of the three to navigate. It is well-designed and intuitive to use. This app helps keep track of how you are feeling overall (choices range from very bad to very good). The daily functionality section of the app allows you to upload images of problematic joints, so you can monitor the physical changes over time.
- RheumaTrack RA, available for both Apple and Android products, is really fun to use because of its unique visual analog system (VAS). For example, the app asks you to track your pain by choosing which smiley face describes you (from red and frowning to green and happy). The system also allows you to indicate where the pain is and how severe it is by tapping on various joints on the image of a person.
- Finally, the Track + React app, available for Apple and Android products, allows you to focus on your general well-being by tracking stress levels, nutrition, physical fitness, and sleep patterns. You can easily cross-reference what you ate and any exercise you did with how you were feeling over a period of time. Due to the range of data it collects, the Track + React app really helps you draw conclusions about which environmental factors may be affecting your pain.
It's important to remember that all of these apps rely upon self-reports, so if you really want to make good use of them, you have to use them consistently. Checking in once a week won't give you good information about how your daily activities are impacting your arthritis. So stay on top of the app you choose to use, and hopefully you'll be able to see some patterns and make improvements that reduce your arthritis pain.