If you are one of the millions who live with migraines, you know that the pain (and the many other symptoms) can be debilitating. There are a lot of headache apps that promise to help – but with so many choices out there, how can you know which app will actually make a difference?
While there hasn’t been a lot of research on headache apps, a 2014 Canadian study offers perhaps the most thorough feedback to date. The researchers tested 38 headache apps, and while most did not measure up to the standards the researchers set, their top 3 might be worth a download. All help you keep track of your migraine pain, triggers, and treatment — information that can help both you and your doctor.
iHeadache. Free for iOS, this headache diary app has been around for several years. According to the study authors, it is “the only app created with scientific or clinical headache expertise. However, it has not been formally tested…and the in-app reports are in plain text format that can be difficult to interpret.”
Headache Diary (ecoHeadache). $ 2.99 for iOS, this app provides charts based on a variety of headache details and offers plenty of customization. However, the study authors point out, “it tracks significantly more information than what has been defined as essential.”
Headache Diary Pro. $ 2.99 for Android (and not to be confused with the app of the same name available for iOS), it measures all the headache variables the study authors deem clinically relevant. Yet, they consider it much less usable than the other two. That said, it does get high marks from users, according to ratings on the Google Play Store.
Keep in mind that, like most apps, these are subject to updates and changes, so they might have improved – or declined – in quality and usefulness since researchers completed their study.
Since the study’s publication in 2014, other apps have come on the scene. Among them: Migraine Buddy (available for iOS and Android). Like the apps above, it helps you keep track of your symptoms, triggers, and other migraine-related details, but it may offer help where other apps have come up short. “One of the best parts of the app (and a key differentiator from other migraine trackers) is that it also collects movement and sleep data through smartphone sensor, so there is some data available even if patients forget to enter other information,” writes TechCrunch’s Catherine Shu, who has monthly migraines.