Best Rheumatoid Arthritis Apps of 2014
We tend to think of arthritis as a disease of aging, but you don’t necessarily need to have gray hair to experience sore joints. In fact, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can start as early as age 30. Unlike other forms of arthritis, which are caused by a wearing away of the joints, RA is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints.
One-and-a-half million Americans currently live with RA, according to the Arthritis Foundation. If you’re one of them, managing pain is likely a priority for you. Here are 11 apps that will help you get a handle on your RA, and get on with your life.
If pain follows you throughout the day, this app can help you manage it. Designed by rheumatologists, RheumaTrack helps you keep a record of when you’re in the most discomfort.
Track when your joints are sore and stiff and follow your pain over time to see when it’s most severe. You can track your activities and which days RA keeps you home from work. Send the data to your doctor to help fine-tune your treatment. RheumaTrack also includes helpful reminders to take your medicine, so you’ll never forget.
Android—3.9 stars with 236 ratings—Free
Take control of your health with this free and easy app. Health Log tracks all of your health measures, including your weight, blood pressure, workouts, sleep, diet, mood, and checkup history.
Chart how well you’re keeping up with nutrition, fitness, and sleep over time. You can create up to 12 different kinds of graphs to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy.
iPhone—3.5 stars with 8 ratings—Free
At checkups, when the doctor asks how you’ve been feeling, do you have a hard time remembering? With RA, symptoms can change, and it’s often hard to remember how you were feeling weeks, or even days ago. That’s where MyRA comes in.
This breakthrough app will let you chart how you’re feeling from day to day, week to week, and month to month. Then when your doctor asks how you’re doing, you can quickly pull up a summary of your symptoms over time. MyRA will streamline your medical visits, and give your doctor a useful tool to help plan your treatment.
My Pain Diary
iPhone—4.5 stars with 10 ratings—$4.99
The creator of My Pain Diary is a chronic pain sufferer who knew exactly which features to include in this app. My Pain Diary is easy to use and has earned multiple awards—including the Web Health Award and Best App Ever Award.
With this app, you can track your pain from RA and from dozens of other conditions. You can even see how all of your conditions interact to change how you feel. A special weather feature will show you how your pain changes in response to temperature, barometric pressure, and other factors. You can even create a graph of your pain, and print a report for doctor’s visits.
Track + React
iPhone—1.5 stars with 20 ratings—Free
Android—3.8 stars with 12 ratings—Free
Everything you do during the day—from sleep to exercise—has the potential to impact your pain. Now you can see exactly how each activity makes you feel.
Track + React, created by the Arthritis Foundation, keeps a record of your nutrition, fitness, sleep, medication, and mood. By following trends in these variables over time, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly. You can also share an Arthritis Impact graph with your doctor. As an added bonus, the Arthritis Foundation—a leading authority in RA care—provides advice and tips for managing your condition.
iPhone—Not enough ratings to display an average—Free
There’s a good chance you’re juggling multiple medications to manage your RA pain. Do you know how well each medicine is helping your symptoms, or whether it’s causing side effects?
RAVE takes all the guesswork out of managing RA medication. This app keeps track of your treatments and symptoms to see how well your medicines are working for you. It also provides helpful information on common side effects, so you can work with your doctor to nip any potential problems in the bud.
@Hand: Treatment Strategies in Rheumatology
iPhone and Android—$28.99
Do you know all of the medicines that are available to help your RA? @Hand brings all of your rheumatologist’s knowledge right into the palm of your hand.
Included in this app is a list of all your treatment choices, as well as the advantages of each choice. You’ll learn what to expect when you take a particular medicine—from potential improvements to possible side effects. You’ll also learn how to know if your treatment is working, and whether it may be time to switch to another drug.
iPhone—Not enough ratings to display an average—Free
Android—4.5 stars with 31 ratings—Free
RheumaHelper is designed for rheumatologists, but anyone with a solid knowledge of RA can use it. The app includes a long list of arthritis conditions, including RA, as well as disease activity calculators.
The app was designed specifically for rheumatologists, with disease activity calculators and classification criteria.
Body Pain Management Hypnosis
Android—3.8 stars with 49 ratings--Free
What if you could harness the power of your subconscious mind to overcome your pain? Using suggestion to induce positive changes is at the core of hypnosis. For many years, people have used this technique to improve a variety of health outcomes—including quitting smoking and overcoming their fears. This app applies the principles of hypnosis to pain management.
Pain Management Hypnosis is the brainchild of hypnotherapist Elizabeth Harford, who narrates the audio track. Her words will take you into a state of heightened awareness, where you can learn how to control your pain and your body’s reactions to it.
iPhone—3.5 stars with 11 ratings—$3.99
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to relieve a stiff, sore back. To learn the best exercises for your condition, you could visit a physical therapist. Or, you could download iREHAB, which brings all the knowledge of trained physical therapists straight to your smartphone.
To start, you answer a series of questions about your pain. Then, iREHAB provides you with a carefully selected exercise plan, chosen with your condition in mind. Each exercise is described through detailed, narrated animations so you can learn how to perform it correctly, without getting injured.
iPhone—3 stars with 560 ratings—Free
Android—4.4 stars with 11,273 ratings—Free
RA can make your fingers too sore to type. What’s more, it’s hard to press the letter keys on your smartphone when you have limited dexterity. With the Dragon app, you’ll no longer have to type a single word.
Dragon Dictation is a voice recognition program that quickly and easily converts your voice into written messages. You dictate what you want to write, and the program types your texts or emails for you. You can even update your Facebook or Twitter page using nothing but your voice! Dragon Dictation is available in a variety of languages.
We selected these rheumatoid arthritis apps based on their potential to aid people with diabetes and those at risk of diabetes. Additional factors considered in selecting these apps included user ratings, affordability, accessibility, format, functionality, and relevance to the RA community's needs. Together, this collection represents the gamut of helpful iPhone and Android apps that are successfully designed to make life with RA more manageable.
More Help for RA
These RA apps are useful tools to help you better manage your arthritis. Use them in conjunction with other trusted sources of advice—starting with your doctor. There are also a number of informational sites you can turn to for tips. One place to start is Healthline’s Living with Arthritis Facebook page. It includes trusted medical information, as well as a supportive community where you can ask questions about living with RA.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. (2014) Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved on January 10, 2014 from http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/.