The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for pain diary

Health 2.0 Why Twitter Can Help You Identify Causes of Pain

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textingIf you live with chronic pain or a chronic illness you may have been requested by your physician to keep a diary of when you are feeling your best and worst. It may also be recommended that you write down your activities, your sleep patterns, and even your diet.

If you have attempted to take this on and do it thoroughly, you know that it can be an overwhelming feeling to keep track of all of your activities and still maintain a sense of normal life. It can be extremely helpful, however, to you and your medical team, to have a written record of your activities, diet, etc. to help discover what is it is causing you the greatest pain. Was that extreme flare caused by a minor food allergy, the weather conditions, or that you were up all night with friends?

It is ironic while those of us who live with chronic pain they find it challenging to write down what we are doing all of the time, what we are eating, and how we are medicating ourselves, millions of people are on the social network Twitter are recording what they ate for breakfast, the fact that they have a cold, or when they’re up working at 2:30 a.m. and on the computer. . . and they consider it fun!

Now is the time for those of us who have a chronic illness to let Twitter worked for us! This social networking tool has been used to help people with dieting, exercise, and even encouragement to stop smoking. But it may best benefit those of us with illness, who need to record enough of our life to figure out what is causing an increase in pain.

Here are 5 steps to use Twitter to understand the causes your pain:

[1] Create an account at Twitter just for your chronic pain logs. If you already have a Twitter account, make a new one, and let it remain private. If you look under “settings” you will see the option to make your account private, meaning that you will have to approve any followers before anyone can see your Twitter account. Since this is private medical information, we recommend not approving anyone. If you are already Twittering this can seem a bit strange because you typically want to increase the number of followers.

[2] You are now ready to start writing your posts. You cannot write more than 140 characters, however, this keeps it a simple task and not too overwhelming. Feel free to use it in any way necessary, for example, submitting more than one post to describe a special circumstance. You can send posts from your cell phone, not just from the computer, so set up this option in your account to make the most of it.

[3] If you are new to Twitter and don’t know where to start, it’s easy. Just post about anything you want in the box and click submit. You may want to began with events that are not part of your typical day and how your body has responded. For example, if you awoke with a lot of inflammation, you may ask yourself if the weather was unusual the night before? Did you stay out late with friends the day previously? Did you change your medication? What did you eat for dinner in the evening last night? Post any information that may be valuable to you or your medical team at any point in the future for your treatment.

[4] Before you go to a doctor’s appointment, log on to your Twitter account and print out the posts if your doctor would like acopy. Highlight any major changes in your patterns of pain.

[5] if you already use Twitter for personal or business use, consider using a service that can post a message to more than one Twitter account simultaneously. This way your regular tweets that include where you are or what you are doing are automatically posted to your pain diary that resides on Twitter as well.

The market for Twitter applications will continue to grow and there is no doubt that’s those considering medical Web 2.0 tools will come up with some fancy (and complicated) ways to record your pain levels. But for now you can have a thorough log of your chronic illness and pain levels in just minutes at no cost. You can’t beat that!

Lisa Copen is the founder of Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held each year in Sept and featuring a free 5-day virtual conference w/ 20 seminars w/ 20 speakers. Follow Invisible Illness Week on Twitter for cool prizes and info. Blog about invisible illness on your site, be a featured guest blogger, meet others, read articles and lots more. Make a impact today!