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New exercise and pain trackers
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New exercise and pain trackers

I'm delighted to see that the new trackers are up.  Here are some thoughts.

EXERCISE TRACKER

For starters, I've just opened this up and it's lost yesterday's data.

It's great that it includes "moderate" and "vigorous" exercise (for the stationary bike); could you add "gentle"?  Remember that this isn't just being used by healthy people doing standard exercise, it's also being used by people who are seriously ill or disabled for whom merely getting around their own home may be a form of exercise.  I'd suggest adding "physiotherapy" to the list of activities, "trampolining/rebounding" which I understand is becoming fairly popular, and also something like "general exertion" to cover those of us for whom activities such as bathing is a form of exercise.  I'd appreciate it if the tracker would accept half-numbers, as I'm building up my exercise by half a minute a week.

For the Symptoms section, please could you add "shakiness" and "delayed exhaustion" (which is not the same as "pain after" or general "fatigue", and is a key symptom of ME/.CFIDS - you have a form for that condition and it's thriving, so assume that ME sufferers will be using this tracker). There should be an apostrophe in "Runner's high".

For the Treatments section, could you add, "heat" and "other pain medication".   I use an aromatherapy oil which I apply to painful areas myself, not the same as having a full massage, and it would be nice if there were something to cover that, as it's not the same as "tiger balm"; based on that, deep heat rubs would also need their own box.  One of the very promising but frustratingly limited areas of these trackers is that they have a limited range of suggestions with no space for if you're using something slightly different.  Actually, I'd really love it if I could build my own tracker and choose which data went in: will that ever be possible?

Would it be possible to ask people whether they're from the US, UK or other when they set up the tracker, and then give medication names accordingly?  The brand names in the US are completely different and it's very confusing if you're in the UK.  I mean, I thought Advil *was* aspirin.  Failing that, could you put the UK names in brackets?

Could you add a fatigue section to this tracker, to cover fatigue-based illnesses such as ME?  Scoring fatigue from 1 to 10 would be incredibly helpful; merely ticking a box that says "fatigue" is useless when you've been fatigued every day of your life for years, and what we need to know is the precise variation in level of fatigue.


PAIN TRACKER

The pain map is a great idea. Could you make "breast" and "chest" separate?  It's not like, say, migraine, where pain from the same condition can spread over the head and neck area: chest pain may be from breathing or heart problems, while breast pain is usually from hormonal problems.  The "point of most pain" function is odd, I'm still trying to work out how to move it after it's been marked, and how to put up more than one.

You need to sort out the Symptoms section, as right now there are separate boxes to tick for "Increased" and "urination", rather than their having one box to themselves, and the same goes for "Increased sweating".  Since this section will be used for side-effects of pain medication as well as the actual pain symptoms, I'd suggest looking up the most common ones and putting them in.  Off the top of my head, "drowsiness" (opiate family), "increased appetite" and/or "weight gain" (low-dose antidepressants), and "abdominal pain" (NSAIDs) come to mind.  "Upset stomach", possibly; definitely "diarrhoea".  I reckon this tracker will be used for migraine, so put in "visual problems" as well, going back to the actual symptoms of the pain.  Come to that, it would be useful to have "migraine" as an option there, as it's completely different from a normal headache, requires different treatment, and does need to be monitored separately.  It'd be useful to have "muscle pain" and "joint pain" listed as tick boxes, so that you could see at a glance what the pattern of pain is like over time.

Treatments - oh dearie me, you need to include more drug groups.  Opiates, muscle relaxants and triptans spring to mind.  There are also the more tangential medications, such as ranitidine to help with the tolerance of NSAIDs, laxatives to treat the constipation caused by opiods, or anti-emetics for migraineurs who vomit with their migraines.  It may be better to list side-effects in a separate section.  Again, I'd prefer to be able to put in the types of data myself, as one of the main points of tracking this sort of thing is to see what effect I get from which treatments, and I am likely to try several in the same group (co-codamol, co-dydramol, tramadol for general pain relief; various triptans for migraine).  Is there any way of marking whether or not the treatment worked, and the dose taken and/or strength of the meds?  There's a difference between taking the maximum dose of co-codamol 30/500 and tramadol 50 together throughout the day (I had to do this for acute calcific tendinitis the other year), and taking one tablet of over the counter co-codamol 8/500 for mild pain relief.
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Further comments:

I agree with the commenter from a previous post that non-medication methods of treating pain, such as ice, heat, and resting, would be useful.

Could there be a section for what triggered the pain?  I don't know if this is too general to be manageable, and it may be better dealt with in the journal section.  I routinely get hormonal migraines and occasionally get diet-induced migraines, for instance.
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10947_tn?1281407852
Thanks for all the suggestions. We'll try to address as many of the suggestions as possible.

Exercise Tracker:

1. None of the trackers should lose your data. If you click "Done" the data should be saved. If you exit the browser, navigate to another page, or click Cancel, the data would not be saved. Please let us know if you see this happen again and we'll look into it. If anyone else experiences this problem, please also let us know. We haven't heard about this issue before.

2. For the stationary bike exercise, we use vigorous and moderate to help calculate how many calories are burned. We don't have a similar calculation for gentle. You can still use this exercise without choosing a level of intensity from the drop-down. Just click the checkbox for stationary biking and enter in the number of minutes you biked.

3. We will update the tracker this coming weekend to allow you to enter in half minutes.

4. We'll also add general exertion to the list of activities. Trampolining/rebounding and physiotherapy may be a bit too specialized. Since the tracker data entry forms are already quite long, we're hesitant to add these two other types of exercise. If there is a lot of demand, though, we will add it. If anyone else is interested in tracking these, please leave a comment.

5. We'll add shakiness and exhaustion (general exhaustion is too long) to the symptoms and we'll correct the typo in Runner's High. We'll also add heat and an "other" category to the list of treatments.

6. You cannot make up your own tracker at this time. We're happy to add new items to the tracker until you can create your own.

7. If you would like us to add the UK names to the tracker, please let us know which drugs you would like updated. We do not have the UK names for all the drugs and will have to research each of these.

8. We will certainly consider adding a Fatigue level to the Exercise Tracker if other members are also interested in this. If not, we may be able to set up a separate tracker for those with fatigue-based illnesses.
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10947_tn?1281407852
Pain Tracker

1. The pain maps are meant to help indicate the general area of the pain. It would be extremely difficult to indicate on a body the difference between the chest area and the breast area because one is overlayed on top of the other. Please use the journal section to help keep track of pain in those areas.

2. We'll be adding more symptoms and a lot more treatments to the pain tracker this weekend. After the new ones are added, if there's still something missing that you would like to track, please let us know.

Thanks,
MedHelp

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10947_tn?1281407852
Exercise Tracker

1. You can now enter in half-minutes for exercise time.

2. General exertion has now been added. Although no caloric calculation is done for this type of exercise, you can still track when and how long you do this.

3. Shakiness and exhaustion have been added to the symptoms section.

4. We've also added Heat and an Other category to the Treatments Section.

Pain Tracker

1. The bug that split up the symptoms has been fixed.

2. Many more symptoms and treatments have been added. If you don't see the treatment you'd like to track, please let us know and we'll get it added.

Thanks,
MedHelp
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