PainScale - Pain Diary and Coach app

An app for people with chronic pain wanting to keep track of their symptoms and learn ways to manage their pain.

PainScale

By Boston Scientific Inc

Features
  • Pain log
  • Symptom tracking
  • Education and information 
  • Graphs and reports

Clinical review

User reviews

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Available from

App website           iTunes           Google Play 

Cost

Free

What does the app do?

This app allows you to keep track of your pain by recording its location, intensity, description, triggers, duration, effect and treatment. Once you have logged enough entries, the 'Insights' feature allows you to view trends like, your pain over time, treatments that helped your pain most, your most used treatments, how pain affects your activity or sleep, etc. The app has a variety of educational and informative resources for a numerous pain conditions such as chronic pain, lower back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, nerve pain, and more. Examples of resources include exercise videos, pain management tips and infographics. For a more detailed description of the app, see Google Play or iTunes and for a detailed review, see Reviews.

PROS CONS 

✔ Logging is fast and easy, and easy to read reports can be generated to pdf and then emailed or printed for sharing with your doctor.

✔ Short articles are available within the app and are tailored to the information you supply when you register. Many, but not all of the articles are of good quality. Basic guided exercise and meditation is also provided.

✔ There is some input into the app from doctors.

✘ Pain locations are limited to broad areas such as the lower back. Other than writing in the notes there is no option for being more specific.

✘ You cannot back date a pain episode.

✘ Cannot easily log the effectiveness of any treatment without writing in the notes section, making it difficult to easily see what works and what doesn’t.

✘ Some of the pain articles are quite limited, and the information is sourced from websites rather than medical journal articles. Good information regarding chronic pain is notably absent (e.g. catastrophising, fear avoidance behaviour, coping strategies, pacing, graded exercise therapy, central nervous system sensitisation, and general information about the biology of pain) Some articles have incomplete information (e.g. the article about the types of chronic pain misses two forms: inflammatory and dysfunctional pain which is pain when there isn’t any injury). Other articles are incorrect, misleading or have limited or no evidence to support them. There is some information on alternative care, but it is incomplete (e.g. excludes hypnosis).

✘ No reminders to use any skills learned (meditation, exercise etc)

Privacy and security

The app is not password protected. Users can choose to set up an account via their email address. The app's privacy policy appears to be generic for Boston Scientific Inc. It outlines the sorts of information that is collected about the user but states that while personal data is not sold or leased to a third party, there are circumstances where personal data may be shared without additional noticed to the user. View the privacy policy. Read more about things you can do to improve your safety and security when using apps.

Review details

Date of review: November 2017
Platform reviewed: Android
Version: 1.3.9 

Learn more

  1. Rahman QA, Janmohamed T, Pirbaglou M, et al. Patterns of User Engagement With the Mobile App, Manage My Pain: Results of a Data Mining Investigation. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017 Jul 12;5(7):e96. 
  2. Chaudhry BM. No gain without pain: using pain tracking mobile Apps. Mhealth. 2016 Jul 4;2:27. 
  3. Lalloo C, Jibb LA, Rivera J, et al. "There's a Pain App for That": Review of Patient-targeted Smartphone Applications for Pain Management. Clin J Pain. 2015 Jun;31(6):557-63. 
  4. Wallace LS, Dhingra LK. A systematic review of smartphone applications for chronic pain available for download in the United States. J Opioid Manag. 2014 Jan-Feb;10(1):63-8.