Apps permeate our everyday lives, allowing us to check our email and post pictures on Instagram. For those that suffer from fibromyalgia though, your smartphone can go one step further. A multitude of apps exists to help simplify your life. Here are the top five.
This WebMD-backed program offers tips on how to reduce pain through knowledge from doctors and physicians. You can fill in your triggers and level of pain, and you can also review patterns over time to find previously unknown triggers. The program includes a journal section where you can determine how well you feel through a Pain Coach slider and note any irritating aches. The goals section lets you learn lifestyle advice and create any goals that you want to reach regarding your pain. There is no downside to this app.
2. My Pain Diary on iPhone
Similar to the WebMD Pain Coach, you can use this app for any pain, but fibromyalgia management seems to be a popular function. This program has won awards for its ease of use and has been featured in USA Today. iPad owners can download this too. The diary style lets you describe the exact pain, the location of the ache, what triggered it, and how you remedied it.
This app comes packed with informative facts from the United States Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Events Reporting System, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Library of Medicine's Clinical Trials database, and the American College of Rheumatology. For free, you can learn about your symptoms and determine if you may have fibromyalgia. Cons include inaccurate reporting on symptoms.
Available for smartphone users, this app focuses on self-management, or taking care of your pain levels and symptoms outside of doctor's visits. You can manage your pain and symptoms with treatment recommendations. Cons include trial and error results.
This app gives you access to a 28-page monthly editorial that features information, advice, and support for fibromyalgia sufferers. Unfortunately, you have to pay for further subscriptions.
Charley horses are painful, a nuisance, you name it! Here are a few things you can do to prevent them.
Using some of these tips will help you prevent those annoying charley horses. Always speak with your health care provider about any concerns you may have.
Advancements in fibromyalgia research are happening every day. If you or someone you love suffers from the disease, take a look at this list of research centers. The following institutions are working hard to improve the lives of people living with fibromyalgia:
There are a number of organizations which are devoted towards fibromyalgia, but the following two are among the most trusted. Your donations to either of the two organizations will be a big contribution toward the improvement of the condition of fibromyalgia patients.
If you are particularly interested in your donation going towards research, your best option would be AFSA. This organization directs most (90%) of the donations they receive towards research projects geared towards improving the care of Fibromyalgia patients. AFSA was founded in 1994 and they have funded an impressive total of 35 research projects within this period. The organization has placed a lot of emphasis on having volunteer members to minimize the amount of contributions that are used to cover overhead costs.
AFFTER (Advocates for Fibromyalgia Funding, Treatment, Education and Research)
Another not for profit organization that can benefit greatly from fibromyalgia donations is AFFTER. This organization pledges a big chunk of its funds towards research into fibromyalgia, but they also put some emphasis on educating the community about this chronic condition. The group, which was founded in 1999, collects contributions through private donations and charity events. They have also funded a number of research initiatives into fibromyalgia with their latest research grant awarded to fMRI research. The fMRI research was aimed at the visualization and analysis of pain processing in patients with fibromyalgia.
In spite of getting close to no media coverage, fibromyalgia organizations tend to receive a lot of funding from well-wishers. Most of the funding is raised for research purposes while the rest go towards creating awareness of the condition. The leading fibromyalgia fundraisers are:
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that incorporates health, mindfulness, and the physical exercises often done in slow motion in contemporary practice. Although a martial art used as a form of defense, Tai Chi has recently gained attention as a form of exercise that can be beneficial for those suffering fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Fibromyalgia is a general pain disorder that affects as many as five million people in the United States. Of those suffering fibromyalgia, the majority are women. Fibromyalgia is controversial in nature because there are still no diagnostic tests to determine the presence of fibromyalgia and self-reporting still remains the major contributing factor to diagnosis. However, for patients with fibromyalgia, the pain is very real, and often medical treatments remain costly and with difficult side effects such as fatigue and weight gain.
In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined 66 patients and concluded that there was significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms versus strict medical treatment. This study is the first to recognize an alternative technique to healing and health.
If you are interested in tai chi or its sister qi gong, you can contact your local martial arts studio. Usually, tai chi is taught with other Chinese arts such as Kung Fu. There are also several videos available through online retailers and Gaiam, a company that specializes in fitness.
Further information on the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/health/19taichi.html?_r=0.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|