An estimated 50 million people in the United States suffer from chronic headaches and about 39 million people are affected with a migraine, which remains the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world, and the 6th most disabling illness worldwide.
However, diagnosing and treating migraine can be tricky, because the key to successful treatment is finding what triggers a migraine. The most common migraine triggers are stress, depression, anxiety, certain foods, sleep disturbances, environmental factors, and medication overuse that can turn episodic migraines into chronic.
To help narrow things down, physicians recommend migraine sufferers to keep a headache diary to track their migraine pain, triggers, and treatment — information that can help both patients and their medical provider. This is also the best way to predict migraine attacks and find relief from the debilitating headache pain.
We already reviewed and gave a favorable rating to Migraine Buddy app, a headache diary designed to record and identify migraine triggers and symptoms, migraine frequency and duration, pain intensity and location, medications, and many other lifestyle factors, in order to help migraine sufferers improve their condition.
iHeadache app is another popular headache tracker made for iPhone only. It is designed to help migraine sufferers keep track of their headaches, disability, medications, and triggers in order to put their migraine under control and to better cope with it.
Upon opening, the app would register the first use and create the initial headache entry for the users. While this option may be useful allowing users to get familiar with the app and its features, I found it unnecessary, because everything in the app (on its homepage) looks straightforward.
There is a plus symbol to add a new headache, indicators of severity (initial and maximum) with only three levels (mild, moderate, and severe), as well as options to add symptoms, disability, medications, and triggers.
List of symptoms is presented in a form of questionnaire, asking users about common signs preceding or accompanying migraine headache, such as aura, nausea, sensitivity to light, and so on. Users can answer with yes or no.
I found this symptom list quite limited because it only includes 9 symptoms provided by the app and the app doesn't allow adding other symptoms, for example, sensitivity to smell, dizziness, and other symptoms that may accompany or trigger a headache.
In a similar fashion (yes or no questionnaire), users can also set disability scale with only 5 choices of complete and partial disability, along with length for each. Again, the list is quite limited with choices preventing users from adding more entries.
Most migraine and headache sufferers use medications (both prescriptions and OTC) to alleviate symptoms. iHeadache app allows users to add medications they use from the main screen.
However, it's not that simple. First, users need to add medications from the list, which is available in the Settings and includes the list of common pain, NSAID, and other medications listed with their brand and generic name. Unlike symptoms, the app allows users to add their own medications, with form and dosage.
Users cannot change the form and dosage information for the medications that are already on the list. Also, the app doesn't include reminder notifications. Migraine sufferers would have to use other apps for that.
Triggers that users can add to their headache log range from alcohol to heat to weather, and cannot be edited, but the users are able to add their own triggers (up to 5).
You can view your current headache in the Log section. Here goes another disappointment. I was able to view only today's headache, but not the one I registered yesterday. Even when I tried to generate a report, I was notified that there were 0 headaches registered since yesterday.
I'm not sure why this happened. I tried to play around a bit. I created a couple more headaches for today and they were shown in the Log section and I could browse through them from the main page.
Maybe I did something wrong with yesterday's entry, but I'm 100% positive that I created a headache log and it should be there.
iHeadache app it's been created with scientific clinical expertise. However, it has not been formally tested and it doesn't provide a reference to materials which the app is based upon.
It does link to resources, such as manual and video tutorials, but they link outside the app to the iHeadache website.
My biggest problem with this app is the lack of customization options, as well as limited features. Also, the user interface is simple, perhaps too simple for today's standards when it comes to mobile app design.
iHeadache is a simple tool for tracking headaches. And that's it. Its developers can learn a thing or two from other similar apps and try to implement them in their app in order to make it more than an oversimplified and limited headache and migraine tracker.
Benefit: The app is primarily designed for patients who suffer from headaches, but it can be used by physicians as well