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Tracking Pain Levels

Published on May 14, 2011 by in Chronic Pain, Managing, PMT

Ask a person suffering from chronic pain how they feel and the common answer will be ‘I hurt’.  Describing ‘I hurt’ varies dramatically from person to person.  One person may feel constant pain in a particular location, whereas, another person may have a range of pain in a range of locations.

That’s the reason why doctors have pain assessment forms that ask several questions about your pain levels.  More specifically, the form asks you to rate, your worst pain, your least amount of pain, and your average pain since your last appointment.  Pain Management Tracker (PMT) works in a similar fashion.

PMT asks for four different scores.  They are: your worst pain, your least pain, your average pain, and your current pain.  PMT is a more precise way to measure your pain because it allows you to enter your pain levels when you want to, instead of estimating your pain over the course of a week or even months.

When entering your pain levels, your worst pain is just that… the absolute worst pain you have had since the last entry.  This is usually your peak breakthrough pain.  Using that as a base, you can see how the least amount of pain and average pain fit 0-10 pain scale. For example, in the last four hours your worst pain may have been an eight and your least pain may have been a three, with an average pain of five, it’s within reasons that right now your pain might be a six.

By tracking these four different values, they give you the best opportunity to track how your pain affects your mood at any point throughout your day. PMT also allows you to add your medications and treatments. When you put all of this together, you can see how PMT allows you to see the big picture of what really works and what doesn’t.  Though everyone with chronic pain will say ‘I hurt’ with PMT, you will be able to add ‘but I am managing my pain by……’.

 

How do you track your chronic pain?  Write a comment because we would love to know.

 
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May is Arthritis Awareness Month

According to the CDC, there are 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffering from arthritis. Annually, arthritis costs $128 billion in medical care and lost earnings. Arthritis is still the leading cause of disability. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.

Both of my parents suffer from arthritis. In 2007, my mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and my dad has suffered from gout for as long as I can remember. The difference in my mom’s body over the past 4 years has been sad to watch. In 2007, my mom was able to lift up my 3 year old and sit down on the floor with her. Now she spends most of her time using a walker. This weekend we had a Mother’s Day brunch but she ran late because she was having trouble walking and couldn’t get into her car. It has been very hard to watch my mom age so quickly. My dad’s gout has gotten worse too. Although, he says it hasn’t, I can see in his face that this isn’t the case.

Arthritis is the inflammation of the joint/s, which causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited movement due to the breakdown of cartilage. Each joint contains cartilage (flexible connective tissue) which protects the bones from rubbing together. When arthritis attacks the cartilage and the cartilage wears down, this causes the bones to rub against each other. Once the cartilage is damaged, it won’t be able to repair itself. Unlike most connective tissue, cartilage is unable to self repair because it doesn’t contain blood vessels.

Gout is a form of arthritis that predominately affects males in their 40’s. It causes an abundance of uric acid to accumulation in the blood stream which then forms crystals in the joints. Known as one of the more painful types of arthritis, it usually starts in one of the big toes. Luckily, with a change in diet, exercise, and water intake, it is one of the most treatable forms of arthritis.

If you have any of these signs and symptoms, please see a doctor to rule out arthritis.

  • Joint pain with no know injury
  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint stiffness
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Grinding sounds in the joint
  • Grinding sensations in the joint
  • Warm/red joints
  • Difficulty with usual activities.

Currently, there is no cure for arthritis but preventative care can make a difference!

 

 
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Chronic Pain Myth #1

Published on May 8, 2011 by in Myths & Tips

Myth #1: If the doctor can’t find anything wrong medically with a patient with chronic pain, it must be “in their head.” Maybe they’re crazy.

Fact: Chronic pain is not “in your head.” It is a legitimate medical condition that can and should be treated. Unfortunately, the exact cause of chronic pain cannot always be found. Pain is a complex personal experience and not all doctors have received adequate training to treat it. Pain management specialists are specifically trained to recognize and treat common and unusual conditions that cause ongoing pain. Although not all pain has an identifiable cause, there is an effective treatment for most painful conditions.

~ emaxhealth.com ~

 

 
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Updates!

Published on May 4, 2011 by in Uncategorized

My husband, Kevin, is constantly working on making this program better and more user friendly. As comments and suggestion roll in, he adds new features. Here is a list of what he has added since April 5, 2011. Please click here and download or re-download the latest version.  When you are downloading the new version to replace the older version, you will need to re-load you database. Under the File menu > open > click on the file you named. It will have the .pmt extension.

  • Brand new First Time Run wizard to help create your first database
  • Updated with new icons.
  • Added tool tips to the toolbar icons
  • Tied in the help Contents to lead you to the help pages on the website.
  • Added new preferences for closing the application
  • Minimizing button to minimize to the tray.
  • Added preference to configuration the application to auto-start with Windows.

Also, we have added a Facebook page for updates too!

 

 
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How to start using Pain Management Tracker

Published on April 10, 2011 by in How To, PMT

When you run Pain Management Tracker for the first time, you must create a new database.  The database holds all the information you track in one simple file.  Don’t worry it’s easy to do and only requires a few steps.

imageStep 1: Load Pain Management Tracker by clicking on the program (PMT.exe) or the icon (health shield) on your desktop.

Step 2: After the program opens, select
File –> Database –> New.

 

imageStep 3: In the Save As Dialog box, select the location you want your data file (database) to be saved. Before clicking save, name the database. Any name will do, however, choose a name you will remember. I’ve saved my database as “pain data 2011.pmj”.

 

imageNow you should see this dialog box with the words “Database created successfully!”

*If any other dialog appears, please record the error and submit it to the forums for help.

 

imageStep 4: Now you can start tracking your pain information.  You will know your working with the right data file because the name will be displayed in the title bar of the window. Pain Management Tracker – pain data 2011.pmj

 

We will be adding more help and How-To’s on the site.  If there’s a specific topic you would like to see just let us know.

 
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Creation of Pain Management Tracker

Published on April 6, 2011 by in Uncategorized

In April of 2005 my husband, Kevin, had surgery on his right hand to remove a ganglion cyst. Two months later, he had the same surgery to remove the ganglion cyst from his left hand. Both procedures were supposed to be simple but the ganglion cyst in his left hand had nerves wrapped around it causing his surgeon to cut and cauterize some of those nerves. When we went to the outpatient center, we were told the surgery would take 20mins but after 45mins, the surgeon walked over to me and gave me the news about the location of his nerves. Looking back, I knew the surgeon was concerned but I shrugged it off. Now, I understand why he had that look in his eyes. He knew that my husband’s life would forever change.

After the surgery, my husband experienced more pain than he did before the surgery. We were concerned but we figured this was the normal healing process. When we went to the surgeon’s office for a follow up visit, my husband stated that the pain was worse. The surgeon sat down and explained that he did everything he could but the nerves had been damaged. Confused and upset, we asked for all of Kevin’s records and then we left the surgeons office.

A few weeks later, with records in hand, we consulted another doctor. After a battery of tests, Kevin was diagnosed with bilateral neuropathy. The diagnosis was bilateral because the doctor found out, after reviewing Kevin’s surgical records, Kevin had nerves wrapped around the ganglion cyst in his right hand too. Unfortunately, that meant my husband would forever suffer from incurable pain. After the diagnosis, Kevin was referred to a pain management specialist for further treatment. That day, we left the doctors office devastated. Both of us were in our early 30s, we had two young children and we knew our future would be filled with an incredible amount of medical bills with no cure in sight.

Since August of 2005, Kevin has been and is still going to monthly pain management appointments. At every appointment, he has to fill out the same paperwork which consists of questionnaires and his list of medications. Kevin knew there had to be a better way for him and his doctor to track all of this information making doctors appointments easier, safer, and more efficient. While sitting in the waiting room, watching a fellow patient struggle to fill out his mandatory questionnaires, Kevin came home and started planning a software package that would eliminate the paperwork.

Now in 2011, after 2 years of creating this pain management software, Kevin is ready to release his first BETA!! I’m so excited and proud of all the things he has accomplished while fighting his chronic nerve pain.

Please download the BETA and give us feedback either positive or negative.

Pain Management Tracker Software includes

  • virtual medicine cabinet
  • mood ratings
  • Tracks side effects of prescribed medicine
  • Tracks how pain is interfering with daily activities
  • visual line graphic of pain
  • Printable forms for easy review
 
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