Tracking chronic pain symptoms: There’s an app for that

by John McKiggan

One of the things I deal with every day as a personal injury lawyer in Nova Scotia are clients who have suffered significant injuries that result in long term chronic pain.

Invisible injury

Chronic pain cases can be difficult to prove because the injury is invisible. There is no X-ray that you can produce to show the client’s broken bone, no photographs of scars, and there is no such thing as a “Pain-o-Meter” to show the extent and what kind of pain the client is suffering.

In many cases, the best evidence of the injury is, for the most part, the patient’s own testimony about their symptoms.

Pain diary

Many personal injury lawyers recommend that their clients keep a daily diary or journal about their pain symptoms, the problems that their pain causes them, anything that their pain prevents them from doing. Basically a day to day story about how their chronic pain has impacted their life.

The problem with diaries

In 24 years of representing injured people I have seen the same pattern over and over again. My clients bring me their diary and in the first days after the accident there are detailed entries on a daily basis. In the weeks following the accident the entries start to drop off to a couple of times a week. Within a month or two after the accident the client is rarely documenting any information about how their pain is affecting their life.

Discipline required

I recognize that it requires discipline to keep a diary. It is simply something that most of us are not in the habit of doing.

However, in my book: Crash Course: The Consumer’s Guide to car Accident Claims in Nova Scotia I have a tip for people who have been injured in an accident.

Most of us have a daily calendar that we keep in the kitchen or somewhere in the house to keep track of household activities. What I recommend to my clients is that they jot a note on their calendar whenever their pain prevents them from doing part of their normal routine.

For example “…could’nt empty the dishwasher today”. Or make a note on the calendar when they miss an important event. For example “…missed Jonny’s basketball game today because of pain”. I find that these types of short entries using a tracking system that the client is already familiar with and uses on a daily basis means that I get more reliable data over a longer period of time.

Make it easy

Therefore, I am always on the lookout for anything that will help my clients keep track of the information that I am going to need to help document their claim. Anything that makes it easier to keep track of their information makes it easier for me to help my clients.

iPhone app

That is why I was interested to read about the “My Pain Diary: Chronic Pain and Symptom Tracker” app.

This app has been designed for iPhone and iPad to make it easy for people who suffer from chronic pain to track and manage their symptoms and identify the activities that may trigger their pain.

The app also allows you to export your entries and send them by email. The app suggests that you may want to send the information to your doctor however, the information could just as easily be emailed to your lawyer.

In a world where almost everyone has a smart phone I think My Pain Diary is a great addition for anyone who is pursuing an injury claim.

Want more information about car accident claims in Nova Scotia?

I have been representing victims of serious personal injuries for more than 18 years. I wrote Crash Course:The Consumers Guide to Car Accident Claims in Nova Scotia to help educate car accident victims and their familes so they can have a better chance of receiving full and fair compensation.

The book is for sale on Amazon (all sale proceeds go to charity) but you can get a free copy by calling 902-423-2050 or you can download a copy here.

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