An increasing number of people are discovering new things about their triggers, using a simple but very unique app.
Many of us – maybe even most of us – could give a list of things that trigger our migraine attacks. But sometimes knowing the list makes us forget just how complex migraine triggers can be – and so we miss some of the subtle things that could be saving us a lot of pain.
And that’s why the Curelator app was developed by Dr. Alec Mian and his team.
How Curelator Works
Curelator is the migraine diary you always wish you had had. It’s simple, but it uses data in a powerful way to give you actually useful information.
First, it asks you some basic questions (this is optional, but obviously the more information you input, the more useful the reports will be at the end). Then, every day you take a few minutes (maybe 2 or 3 minutes once you understand the system) to enter basic information about your day. Were you exposed to any typical triggers? What symptoms did you experience? What treatments did you use?
You need to do this regularly for 2-3 months (whether you experience a migraine attack or not) so that Curelator can get a good overview of your symptoms, medications, possible triggers, and treatments.
Now as it is, this gives you great data on the frequency and duration of your migraine and headache attacks. But you can get a subscription which will give you much more powerful information. (At the end I’ll give you a tip to save some money on the prescription.)With the subscription, you’ll be able to see “trigger maps” and “protector maps”. You can see an example of a trigger map to the right.
According to the data this person has entered, bright lights, neck pain and soft drinks are highly associated with their migraine attacks, and so they are likely triggers. Anxiety, on the other hand, just has a vague association. She might want to check again in a couple of months to see if things have changed.
She’ll also see a similar map showing things that are probably not triggers, and also a map of things that seem to be “protectors” – when she’s exposed to these things, she’s actually less likely to have an attack.
Remember that list in your head? There may be one or two things on there you’ve been generally avoiding for years, and it may turn out that you’re avoiding them for no reason.
Curelator had a number of testers last year (I was one of them), and some interesting discoveries were made. For example, you know how everyone tells you to avoid caffeine and chocolate? Here’s the raw data. Out of 150 patients, caffeine only seemed to be a trigger for 2%. And chocolate? All right, a little higher – almost 7%. But that’s all! In fact, for over 9%, chocolate actually seemed to fight migraine (bring it on!).
The nice thing about Curelator is that it isn’t biased by past experience, or what a doctor says – it just calculates the cold, hard, numbers. So you just may discover some unexpected facts yourself.
A Few More Things You Need to Know
I know this is a long article, but it’s worth the time to understand this app and what it can do for you.
Curelator is backed by an advisory board with some big names in the world of migraine treatment and research. This is not a fly by night group, but people who have spent a good part of their lives helping real migraine patients. When they see a chance to reduce medications and improve health, that’s what they’re all about.
Now, you also wanted to know how to save some money. As I mentioned, there is a free version of the app which does track your headache and/or migraine attacks (cluster headache too). The app needs 45-90 days to get enough data (by the way, the app is typically for people experiencing 2 or more headache and/or migraine attacks per month). What you do is get the free version and use it for three months, and get a good set of data first. Then subscribe to get your maps. Now you have 6 months to confirm the data or see if it discovers more. That essentially gives you 9 months of information instead of 6.
Once you have the data, stop and think about it, or talk to a friend about it. You’re likely to discover some things you weren’t aware of before. This article from the National Headache Foundation about Curelator provides some fascinating examples of how a “trigger” may turn into a “protector”, for example.
Curelator is hoping to come out with some more useful features in the future, so stay tuned!
Meanwhile, get the app now! (And by the way, if you want an Android app, click the link on this page to let them know you’re interested and to be updated when it’s available)