Migraine isn't just a headache. Migraine is an inherited neurological disorder, or to be more precise, a collection of neurological symptoms characterized by over excitability of specific areas of the brain.
Migraine typically manifests itself as a severe throbbing recurring pain that usually affects one side of the head, although in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.
Migraine attacks are often accompanied by disabling symptoms, which may include visual disturbances (also called an 'aura), nausea, dizziness, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch, tingling or numbness in the face or extremities, etc.
According to data from American Migraine Foundation, over 36 million people in the United States and are affected by migraine. Worldwide, migraine is the 6th most disabling illness.
Migraine causes substantial individual and societal burden, because for sufferers it means living with the constant, often disabling pain. More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.
But physical pain is only a part of the problem. With headache and migraine come other problems, including depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, which are common problem for people with chronic migraine.
Another problem is lack of clear understanding of how migraine starts and what causes it. It is well known that individuals with migraine are more susceptible to the influence of transient factors, so called "triggers," that increase the risk of migraine attacks.
These triggers may include environmental stimuli like weather or bright lights, certain smells, foods, alcohol consuming, lack of sleep, stress, and hormonal fluctuations. However, not everyone who suffers migraine has clear triggers, which makes hard to predict when the attacks may occur.
Doctors suggest that all migraine sufferers should keep track of symptoms and potential triggers as the best way to predict migraine attacks and find relief from the debilitating headache pain.
However, when a migraine attack occurs, it's hard to hold the pen, when you're not even able to keep your eyes open. Prodrome phase also leave patients too weak and groggy to write down how they feel, what food may have triggered the attack, or where the pain started.
To replace the traditional pen and paper method that is certainly not practical during migraine attacks, Singapore-based start-up Healint created a mobile app for Android and iOS devices called Migraine Buddy 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 users improve their migraine condition.
Migraine Buddy app requires users to create an account by providing some basic information about them, including name (only your first name), sex, email address, as well as type and frequency of pain. Users also have to answer what is their goal, i.e. what they expect from Migraine Buddy app.
After registration, the app will prompt you to start recording a migraine. This part is very simple to use and follow, because the app will guide you through every step.
Basically, users need to answer various questions about their migraine, such as at what time has it started and ended, what was the intensity (level of pain), where users were when the pain started (home, work, school, public transportation, etc.).
Migraine sufferers will be also asked if they can guess what might have triggered the attack bu choosing from the list of preset triggers, including stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, skipped meal, or users can simply add their own trigger.
Users will be asked if they're having menstrual cycle (if they're women), if they've sensed aura or other signs that precede the attack, what symptoms they've experienced, if they've used medications or other relief methods (and which relief method may have helped), how migraine affected their life activities (and which), and finally to describe where did the pain start by tapping on illustrations of the head (front and back) divided into sections.
The users will be then taken to the home screen that features a large circle reporting how many hours or days it has been since the last migraine attack, which users can share with others via Facebook.
If the attack started and you couldn't finish the recording, the circle will display encouraging messages, such as "Hang in there [your name]!" or "Hope you feel better soon!"
As you add records, View Reports section populates with more details that might help you better understand your migraine attacks, i.e. if they're affected by your lifestyle, sleeping patterns, or environmental triggers, the pain intensity, aura and prodrome, etc.
Migraine Buddy app also helps users track their sleep patterns. This is done by either manual entry, or more intuitively by allowing the app to do that. Migraine Buddy app can create an automatic sleep diary by learning when you sleep based on your phone use habits. The app also can collect movement and sleep data through wearable phone sensors, so users don't have to remember to enter data or triggers.
Since changes in temperature and barometric pressure could trigger migraine for many people, Migraine Buddy app can provide you information about the weather in your current locale by using your phone's location settings.
These features alone make Migraine Buddy stand out among other similar tracker apps. Accompanied with clean design and easy-to-use interface, motivational messages, as well as export and share options, they make this app perfect tool for all migraine sufferers who want to put their symptoms and triggers under control.
Benefit: All people suffering from migraine who want to learn more about migraine, what triggers it, as wells as how to improve their condition