With the popularity of smartphones and apps, keeping a pain journal is definitely much more efficient and convenient for patients.

From the developers at Ringful Health, Pain Care has received much praise from Health 2.0, and has also received first place during the Project Health Design Developer Challenge back in 2010, sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio and California HealthCare Foundation.

With such recognition, Pain Care definitely deserves an indepth review from iMedicalapps.


Chronic pain is perhaps one of the most common symptoms that most healthcare providers encounter during patient care.

Pain comes in all types: from osteoarthritic and post-surgical pain to devastating cancerous pain, and can be extremely debilitating and demoralizing for patients. Unfortunately, despite having many different medication options and specialized procedures, chronic pain remains very difficult to control and treat.

Many obstacles are present when attempting pain control with the most obvious being the side effects and drug-drug interactions of medications.

However, what has proven to be most difficult for physicians to effectively provide treatment is the subjectiveness of pain symptoms. Pain is difficult to quantify and mostly unmeasurable, especially chronic pain, despite having standardized interview tactics and the Wong-Baker pain scale. Not only is conveying the characteristics of pain difficult, patients have different expectations with their pain control as well.

Because of these reasons, applying a universal treatment regimen to all patients is often ineffective and inadequate. Pain management requires a personalized approach, and one of the most (cost-) effective methods is by encouraging patients to keep “pain journals.” Pain journals not only allow healthcare providers to characterize the symptoms and monitor efficacy of treatment plans better, but may also improve patient’s own understanding of their pain and influence their expectations through active patient participation.

The App

Pain Care is designed to be an “all-you-need” one-stop app for personalized pain journal keeping. Not only does the app allow users to document their pain episodes and track different treatment options, but also provides “personal reports” that summarize the progression of the pain episodes over time. Users can share these “personal reports” with their healthcare providers via email.

Pain Care also does a fine job at keeping track of the “Care Team,” which includes physicians and physical therapists to chiropractors and family and friends. Users will be able to save each Care Team member’s group practice name, contact information, business hours, and even co-pay information.

Lastly, just in case of urgent situations, the app also provides quick in-app web Google Map searches for nearby emergency rooms, pain specialists, hospitals, and even gyms.

Keeping a journal is easy and quick, with mostly everything being clickable check boxes from lists of options. The layout of input fields may also serve as reminders for users and prompt them to notice important characteristics about their pain episodes that might otherwise be overlooked.

Although designed to be a simple task, users may be as detailed as they desire when describing their episodes thanks to the inclusion of customizable inputs and separate “notes” fields.

Users are also allowed to record their treatments, an important aspect of keeping a pain journal as well. The app reminds us that pain is complicated and often multifactorial and encourages users to include all types of treatments ranging from medications, nerve blocks, and physical therapy to chiropractic therapy, meditation, and psychotherapy.

Every log is recorded and accessible under the “Journals” tab and all data is also backed up onto an online account (if activated) through Ringful Health.