Diary of a Migraine: iPhone App Tracks Headache History

With applications for recording everything from calorie intake to sleep habits, smartphones are an increasingly valuable tool for patients to quickly and accurately self-monitor their vitals. Especially for those suffering from chronic migraines, long-term tracking of symptoms can be an essential component of diagnosis and pain management. While several developers have pounced on this market by producing apps that function as simple “headache journals,” few are as precise or comprehensive as the iHeadache 1.2, developed by neurologist Brian D. Loftus, MD, of BetterQOL, Inc.

The application, which costs $9.99 for the iPhone version and $14.99 for the BlackBerry version, is designed to facilitate communication between doctors and patients to improve quality of treatment for chronic head pain. When patients enter symptoms, headaches are classified using industry-standard ratings systems like the Migraine Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS). The MIDAS measures the extent to which headaches impair daily functioning. Headaches are also classified by the International Headache Society (HIS) criteria, which categorizes them into three major types: migraines, probable migraines, and tension headaches.

The most recent version of the application also allows patients to keep track of common headache triggers, such as chocolate, stress, or alcohol, or to create their own custom triggers based on observed correlations. Medication data can also be stored to monitor the effectiveness of prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs used to treat frequent headaches.

The information is stored in iHeadache for a period of 15 months, and users can generate reports on 28- or 30-day cycles. These reports could lead to valuable insights into the patterns, causes, and treatment of migraines. For more information, or to download a free trial on a Blackberry or iPhone, visit http://www.betterqol.com/iheadache/.