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Stack Advice for Supplements Stacks

There are many problems TrackMyStack has helped solve for its users. From simply helping users maintain and track the effectiveness of their supplement stack and its results for them to learning more about how supplements, otc and other medications have affected patients with various health goals and conditions. All of this for free as a way for people reach optimal health, combined with a healthy diet, sleeping and exercise plan (all of which we also help you track!)

The New Stacks Page (subdomain)
Starting today we will be putting a stronger emphasis on users getting feedback from patients, biohackers, or fitness buffs just like them! Having said this, we are officiating this by moving the entire stacks section of TMS to https://stackadvice.trackmystack.com — after all, the whole point of having your stacks posted publically is to get feedback from others or have others hold you accountable for your results!
Edit: Update your bookmarks to the subdomain above and if possible link to us from your blog if you find it interesting!

New Commenting System
Recently we also changed our commenting framework from a custom in-house commenting system to Disqus to make it easier for users to post comments to stacks or supplement pages.

New Stack Building System
For those that haven’t made a new stack in a while we have also gone ahead and added the ability to “Bulk Add” supplements or medications to your stack rather than adding them one at a time from the initial wizard or the actual stacks page, look for a button that says “+ Bulk Add” to get a stack built faster.

The idea of “Stack Advice” comes from the Reddit subreddit that was trying to solve the problem we are solving in a more structured way. Here is the official description:
Due to an overwhelming number of posts in /r/nootropics where people post their stacks and ask for advice on dosages, feedback, recommendations, etc, we have created a supplementary subreddit for requesting and giving personalised advice.
Consider this a friendly environment for stack advice, Nootropics recommendation, supplement information, and any question concerning Nootropics.

Initially the purpose of our site was to help the nootropics community manage their stacks but we have since allowed everyone to build a stack for whatever purpose they deem fit with more options than they can handle. If you still have suggestions on how we can improve TrackMyStack, feel free to leave a comment below. We have slowed down development as we do not want “feature creep”.

Feature creep, creeping featurism or featuritis is the ongoing expansion or addition of new features in a product, such as in computer software. These extra features go beyond the basic function of the product and can result in software bloat and over-complication rather than simple design.

Final Word on StackAdvice
I leave you with some very real stacks found on reddit’s /r/stackadvice

Nutrition Tracker

A Free Nutrition Tracker

TrackMyStack is slowly morphing in it’s abilities to track everything you may need to, to feel your optimal self. The newest feature we have been working on diligently is a nutrient tracker. Our platform will help you keep a log of your nutrition, and count your daily intake of calories, fat, protein and carbs. We intelligently plug into a database of food recipes/nutrition database so for many items of food you are not required to enter any values. Below is a breakdown of everything this nutrition software will help you do.

  1. Daily Nutrition Tracker – you can log as many entries as you need to daily, just enter a food and we do our best to guess what you are talking about and try to pre-populate the macronutrients. Soon we will allow you to mark each entry as “clean”, “gluten free”, “grass fed”, etc. as well.
  2. Track Vitamins – Along with tracking your macros, you have an additional detailed ability to record exactly which supplements and brands you are currently taking to determine and make sure you are reaching all RDA’s
  3. Free Nutrition Software – best of all, all of these features are available to you free of charge even with a basic account, however previewing graphs of food requires a Pro account.
  4. Discover Triggers – now you can cross reference your diet to your mood, medicine intake, symptoms, and pain. Additionally you can track your exercise, and symptoms, mood and sleep as well.

Nutrition Tracking App

See these screenshots below to see if our platform can be a good substitute for a traditional printable nutrition log. We will continue to add features and capabilities to really personalize everything as time goes on to be the best nutrition tracker out there. For now we demonstrate how to track your meals daily:

add nutrition to log
Step 1. Quickly enter any food item that you have consumed and want to log. This is the first step in recording your nutrition daily.

 

daily nutrition
Step 2. A list of most common entries will be provided where you may quickly choose one or continue to add your own original nutrient values.

 

macronutrient breakdown of eggs
Step 3. Once a food is selected, all nutritional values for that food are automatically presented to you, making tracking nutrition that much easier. You are free to edit and add weight, protein, sugar, calories, fat, and carbs.

 

Step 4. You may add multiple items in one journal check-in. In this example we added bacon and eggs. Any values at this point can not be edited but deleted only. As more users use our software we will build up a more comprehensive database of foods available to be tracked.

 

The Final Step. After your entries have been made and you have added the right calories and adjusted your totals, you can view it on your stack page. Additionally by the time you read this we should also have graphing capabilities where you can view your intake over time and find patterns that may emerge that may help you maintain a balanced diet.

More Than A Calorie Counter App

Counting your calories, and keeping a nutrition log online has many other benefits such as being able to log the entries from wherever you are via your phone. Proper nutrition tracking will help you either lose weight, eat healthy, or gain muscle, depending on your goal. The benefit of using our app over the countless others such as myfitnesspal for example is that health & wellness is a bit more than tracking your calories, the data that can be analyzed using the various other trackers we have truly gives you a complete picture of your health. Being able to see what other’s are doing for their health goal, viewing their reports, ability to see which supplements work and do not (backed by science), adding symptoms and conditions and the ability to set-up reminders (adherence notifications, caregiver notifications) are just a few of the countless things we do that other tracker can’t. The fact that we go above and beyond in what you can track but don’t explicitly require all the data is what we think makes us the best weight loss app or calorie calculator out there.

Getting Started with our Nutrition Tracker

To get started using our nutrient counter for free, you can create a stack here, it is free to signup and get started. If you have any other questions on how to track nutrition or any feature requests, feel free to contact us.

The Best Natural Adderall Alternatives to Buy OTC Legally

adderall alternative

On the off chance that you are trying to find an effective natural Adderall alternative for your child or for yourself without the need of a prescription, then you are in the right place. Adderall is a therapeutic medication that has been widely used in treating certain conditions such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD treatment report). This smart drug has been used by many individuals especially students and those who work in high-pressure jobs. These people usually do not have legitimate prescription and purchase Adderall overseas online.

It is vital to keep in mind that substance is considered a drug that’s considered a controlled substance in the United States. The reason behind this is that Adderall XR is known to have a serious tolerance profile and users tend to experience addictive effects. In some countries such as the United States, the government requires that you be under a physician’s supervision when taking it and you need to have a prescription in order to obtain and use it legally. Let’s learn why…

What is Adderall?

Adderall XR is a drug that functions as a brain stimulant and is “well-tolerated” by children on a short-term basis. This therapeutic drug actually contains 4 types of amphetamine, namely aspartate sulfate, aspartate monohydrate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and dextroamphetamine sulfate. Adderall XR is primarily considered a drug that is effective in treating narcolepsy, ADHD and other psychiatric conditions.

The best explanation as to why Adderall XR is an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients is that it contains forms of amphetamines, which provides a stimulative effect on the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. However, one of the main reasons why many users wants to seek Adderall alternatives is because of the many serious side effects.

The Reason A Prescription Needed for Adderall

alternatives to adderallThe primary reason why a prescription is compulsory to purchase or use Adderall is because it is classified as both a controlled substance and a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and utilization of it should be under the care of a doctor or any qualified medical professional. Adderall may cause unwanted effects and consultation of a doctor is needed in order to determine if you are healthy enough to use it.

Adderall has addictive effects, so in order to prevent people from abusing it and buying it in the United States at least, a prescription is needed. On the off chance that you are interested in taking Adderall alternatives, it is important that you should talk to your physician.

Are there Natural Adderall Replacements?

Because of the facts that been listed above, many current, former, and prospective users of Adderall are interested in looking for an effective alternative for this medication. The reasons as to why many people love to use this drug is because of its effectiveness in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other conditions like improving learning capacity, memory, and studying ability.

Since supplement manufacturers could not endorse their products as “Adderall Replacements”, many of these supplements are prescribed by physicians as natural alternatives. These natural brain supplements contain lower risks of side effects, overdoses, or withdrawal. So what are the best Adderall alternatives that consumers are using in order to improve their attention span, intellect, and concentration?

Best Non-Prescription Alternatives to Adderall

Piracetam

An alternative for Adderall is Piracetam. This supplement is considered a Nootropic, it is known to enhance brain power. It is involved in numerous cognitive processes including learning capacity, concentration, memory formation, attention switching, and focus. Taking Piracetam has been proven by some studies to be effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD and enhances brain health by promoting better maintenance of neurons and increase cell membrane fluidity. See references at the bottom for the studies.

Some people stack Adderall with Piracetam to facilitate better outcomes; however, it is important that you consult your physician first before doing this.

Noopept

Noopept too is nootropic, it is used to enhance learning capacity, memory, and concentration. It is known to be one of the strongest and effective of all Nootropic supplements available. It is stronger than piracetam, you can see the comparison of piracetam vs noopept to gauge the differences between the two.

Noopept increases levels of Nerve Growth Factor, which are chemicals that aid in maintaining and supporting the integrity of all brain cells. Damage to these cells can cause ADHD and ADD as well as degenerative cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

This supplement provides numerous benefits related to the synaptic activity of the brain. It works by stimulating the AMPA, Nicotinic, and NMDA receptor sites inside the brain. This leads to increased activity of certain neurotransmitters such as Acetylcholine, Glutamate, Serotonin, and Dopamine. All of these actions combined are the reason for the wide range of health benefits of this Nootropic drug.

The most well known benefit of this drug includes an increase in working memory and memory consolidation. Other benefits of Noopept include improved reflexes, enhanced learning ability, better overall mood, enhanced sensory perception, reduced anxiety, better overall mental performance, and advanced logical thinking.

Aniracetam

In terms of a stronger and rapid onset of effects, Aniracetam is the best choice among Adderall alternatives.

Aniracetam is part of the Ampakine family and is considered as a Racetam that is why it provides many health benefits than just working as a cognitive enhancer. It has the ability to provide mood boosting effects and reduces the levels of anxiety and stress and is known as a potent anxiolytic.

Aniracetam may benefit those who are suffering from depression, social anxiety, and other related mood disorders. Some of the benefits of Aniracetam include improving focus, memory, clarity of thought and attention span. Aniracetam is not a Central Nervous System stimulant. As a matter of fact, it is more common to experience a boost of energy combined with a feeling of relaxation when utilizing it as a supplement. This supplement may “feel” very “mild” especially if shifting over from a prescription amphetamine, and thus it may need to be stacked with something like Rhodiola Rosea and Choline Bitartrate and perhaps even Piracetam initially. Rhodiola would provide the energetic fuel, Choline the mental capacity to keep functioning fast and Piracetam + Aniracetam to synergize in giving you a powerful cognitive boost. References for this include the TMS platform to determine what is commonly stacked with Aniracetam (see Stats at the bottom of the page).

Alpha Brain

Speaking of stacking, there are branded supplements like Alpha Brain that may already contain everything you may need, you can read our full review of this nootropic stack on our site. Alpha Brain is a complete and balanced nootropic blend or stack and has been a scientifically tested and is “earth grown”. Nutrients combination in the supplement have been clinically tested and demonstrate verbal memory improvement and executive function according to studies funded by Onnit Labs. Additional studies report aid in memory and mental clarity thus helping you achieve concentration as well as focus.

Alpha Brain is very effective in producing noticeable effects in and of itself because of the quantity of the ingredients in it. Many brain supplements are not potent enough to provide an effective nootropic benefit because of the quantity and quality and Alpha brain is a good starter nootropic stack that does not disappoint.

Pramiracetam

Pramiracetam is considered the “advanced” version of Piracetam, which as mentioned is considered one of the founding/original Nootropics developed. Its mechanisms of action are very similar to one another, however Pramiracetam is 5-30x more potent. It works by binding to Acetylcholine receptor sites and then inhibiting their desensitization in order to increase the action potential of the neurons.

It has a high bioavailability and is fat-soluble and is noted to have long half-life of about 5 hours. Pramiracetam is known to be one of the “purer” Nootropics. Some of its known benefits include enhancing learning capacity, increasing memory, focus, attention span, and concentration, and improving overall brain energy. Taking pramiracetam powder produces very little effects on anxiety and mood levels. A dose of about 200-400mg is required  to notice benefits per day.

Modafinil/Adrafinil

Modafinil is a drug that enhances energy levels and alertness – particularly in individuals who do not usually get enough sleep. User reports on this nootropic agent suggests that it gives them the desired energy boost that they needed way better than caffeine and other stimulants do. Hence, it has gotten to be well known for off-label use as a focus enhancer. It may seem ironic going from one drug to another, but user reports show that there are significantly less side effects associated with Modafinil’s off hand use as a ADHD treatment.

Modafinil is clinically prescribed for those that suffer from sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and many others related to excessive sleepiness. There are drug stores from which numerous patients buy Modafinil without a prescription universally as the cost locally may be too high, however we don’t recommend you try this, and should consult a doctor initially. Funny enough this drug is what the movie limitless’ drug nzt 48 is based off of.

Modafinil has appeared to help individuals stay alert, dynamic and helps clear the mind, especially if the individual lacks quality sleep. Researchers have effectively demonstrated a relationship between the utilization of this medication and memory retention in a sound state against variables such as absence of sleep. However not every patient in this study could associate Modafinil to a change in psychomotor capacity in human test subjects.

adderall-replacementAddTabz

Some users claim that AddTabz is effective in improving attention span, concentration, energy levels, productivity, and focus. It helps people handle stress, frustration, workload, leading to increased productivity. However, some users claim that AddTabz contains less powerful ingredients and cannot provide effects on mental performance that Adderall does.

It is sometimes called Ampheta CDP since it has amphetamine-like properties and effects but there is no actual amphetamines included. As a matter of fact, CDP refers to “Citicoline” or “CDP Choline” which is a supplement that has the ability to enhance focus and concentration.

Lumonol

Lumonol may improve concentration, focus, motivation, energy, and even boosts metabolism which may lead to weight loss. One of its mechanism of action is to increase the number of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some patients reported that Lumonol is an effective Adderall alternative with an added benefit of providing neuroprotective properties and being “more natural“. However, it does contain Noopept, which could be a bonus, or not, it depends on how you look at it.

So, what is the Best Adderall Alternative?

The above supplements are just a small selection of supplements that are used as Adderall replacements and can be legally purchased without the need of a prescription (with the exception of Modafinil, however there is Adrafinil?). Some of these supplements are natural and carry a lower risk profile compared to Adderall and other therapeutic drugs. Some of the other supplements may be used as Adderall alternatives include Doxiderol, Profiderall, and Addrena as well, you can see our other full list of branded nootropic supplements here.

Which one you decide to use depends on your preferences and needs. Lumonol and AlphaBrain are more expensive compared to other generic brain supplements. You can also stack your own Adderall alternative nootropics out there in order to achieve your needs, and we provide the perfect platform to do so.

References:

  1. https://examine.com/supplements/piracetam/
  2. http://www.xbrain.co.uk/testimonials-2/mma/heath-herring/alpha-brain-1
  3. http://www.drugs.com/cdi/modafinil.html
  4. https://www.smartdrugsforthought.com/what-is-aniracetam/

Keeping a Diary of Symptoms

Symptom Diaries for Outpatient Care

symptom diary

Keeping a diary of your symptoms can help you diagnose your health issues quickly, it will help you determine triggers and provide a log as a reference. TrackMyStack is the perfect tool to track your health symptoms easily. The symptom logs can be printed and used by your doctor to treat your condition more accurately by having quantifiable data. A corollary to that is that it is vital to track your symptoms as you experience them during the course of your day.

The Best part…

TrackMyStack can be accessed via your mobile device or desktop at any time with access to the Internet, so you have no reason to carry around a diary at all times. This removes the risk of losing your diary or remembering to take it everywhere you go, as your phone will most likely always be with you.

 

How can you actually use a Symptom Diary?

Let’s take the case of Jessica.

Jessica is a 35 year old who has a bi-polar disorder and migraine headaches. She constantly goes in for checkups and reports daily headaches that last for days at a time. She says she has also “noticed” an increase in symptoms such as lethargy, and anxiety. At the same time, Jessica has been changing and trying different medications, supplements and eats out during lunchtime at different places all the time. With this many variables in place stating “a bit”, “every now and then” is not enough, the more precise the data, the easier it will be to diagnose her problems.

When this information is presented to a doctor, the information sounds all too vague, is confusing and can be challenging to explain correctly. To your doctor making sense of your information is not only time consuming (as you are given 15 minutes per visit) but your information will contain many errors and biases (such as recall bias).

The Solution? A Symptom Journal

The solution for Jessica is to maintain a simple Symptoms Diary also known as patient logs. TrackMyStack has the tools available for anyone to track symptoms and daily activities (ODL’s) in a quick, organized manner that will help with your diagnosis. Here are 6 benefits you will gain from keeping an online symptom journal:

 

Why does this matter? Here’s the Clear Benefits:

  1. Time Savings – Your physician can quickly scan through your online diary/print out in seconds accurately, as opposed to you verbally explaining everything.
  2. Cost Savings – With more accurate information, you are less likely to go through radiographic testing or other unnecessary lab tests.
  3. Identification of Triggers – Looking at the graph can easily show clear patterns of symptoms occurring linked to your activity for that day, it is easy for physicians or yourself to discover triggers.
  4. Graphs & Reports – Linked to #1 and #3 + they can be shared and gives you a quick overview of your health.
  5. Patient Engagement & Empowerment – Once you start tracking your health actively, you are likely to start making the necessary changes to get better. You will lessen cognitive burden and may notice therapeutic benefit as well. Remember, what get’s measured, get’s improved.
  6. Personal Health Record – Record your activity and see how you are doing compared to others just like you on TrackMyStack. Keep your data with you at all times, and be in control of your health by maintaining your own records.

 

Symptoms aren’t the only thing…
Other related diaries that can be maintained from one platform:

The most common types of health diaries do one thing only; TrackMyStack is the only platform that helps you manage all or any of your symptoms in a single location. This includes a sleep diary (to determine your, you guessed it, sleep patterns), voiding diary (to measure fluid input/output), general symptoms (any symptoms such as IBS, fatigue, gas, cardiac symptoms, neurological, etc.), exercise diary, headache diary (helps with adjusting your abortive or prophylactic treatment), and a food diary (for lifestyle modification). Along with symptoms, you can also use TrackMyStack to track your chronic conditions as well.

2 Challenges You May Encounter or Have Encountered:

#1 Non-adherence: You may feel too lazy or tired to write daily, TrackMyStack allows you to write as frequently as you want with as much information as you’d like. Obviously however, the more frequent you write and with more detail, the better your results will be. We organize and display your diary in structured order, so you don’t have to worry about being “neat” or following certain protocols or even remembering if you have written down all the things needed to make the entry useful.

Take a look at the screenshot below to get an idea what recording symptoms looks like currently:

health-journal-screenshot    medication-journal-appsymptoms-record-journal
#2 Irrelevant Apps: If you are a patient, you need an app that can record your vitals, ODL’s, and symptoms; however, many food or calorie trackers or fitness apps are not right for you as they are not meant to be used as you may need to. Wellness apps are a different category than fitness apps, using the right tool for the job is key.

 

And Finally, What is TrackMyStack and What it Isn’t…

The risk-reward ratio for using a symptom diary is heavily skewed, TrackMyStack is a simple, effective clinical tool that augments the diagnosis as part of outpatient care without any risk to you. You are free to share as much or as little as you right, TrackMyStack also does not diagnose or recommend any treatments. It is a tool used to track your activity that can then be shared with your primary care provider to assist them and yourself determine ways to improve your health.

The cost of starting your stack and journaling are minimal, you need 20 seconds to sign up, and about a minute each time you experience a symptom or “flare up”. TrackMyStack can be upgraded to Pro if you need to use advanced features or to generally support the development of our platform. We have over 5,000 members that are actively monitoring their health, privately and openly. Your data can help other people solve the same problems as you and vice versa, where you can use other people’s experiences to augment your own diagnosis.

When logging your symptoms in an organized manner you are committing to being a healthier you and are demonstrating that you are proactive in taking control of your health, your family will thank you for it, so will your physician, and not to mention your body. Get tracking today for free, click here.

healthier you

The Perfect Chronic Pain Tracker

Tracking Chronic Pain Online
pain-management

A diary that tracks your level of pain is an indispensable tool to have in your arsenal, for the benefit of your caregiver and yourself. The key is to make sure you record your level of pain and discomfort in a timely manner and describe conditions that may have led up to it, along with all other useful details. This information helps your medical team provide a more personalized effective treatment that will help you cope much better.

TrackMyStack provides all the tools of a regular pain management diary along with many additional tools to record all details that will help you with a better diagnosis. These tools are optional to use and are provided in additional to basic pain management, all data is safe and securely stored online on our private servers; so it can be accessed from anywhere, without you needing to carry a physical agenda or worrying about losing it.

Many patients who don’t originally believe in ‘tracking’ to optimize health always ask ‘the point of tracking everything’ and our answer is always the same. You can not optimize or fix that which you do not actively self-manage. Tracking your pain makes it easier for those taking care of you or yourself to see what is working. When you start taking out treatments that aren’t effective, it will save you time, help you recover faster and potentially even save you money. These all sound like good things to have, wouldn’t you agree? Best of all, we have a community that is here to help you and be your support network if needed.

The records you create will help remediate any confusion that may arise or is a result of alternative therapies or medicine as part of your regimen. Maintaining accurate pain records is critical for everyone, if the records you keep are not helpful at the end of the day, there is no point in maintaining them. Keeping a structured journal like the one we provide is critical, you need not write long entries, you can simply record notes, which will suffice.

wong-baker-scale

Your plan to maintaining a pain diary is simple:

  1. Create a Stack (a routine for a health condition or goal), this will consist of medication, supplements and other treatments you are undertaking to feel better.
  2. Track your pain and pain relief efforts whenever you feel like, and record any additional observations of daily living (ODL’s), photos, notes you may have.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.
  4. Print out or e-mail your doctor your chronic pain journal so they can either actively monitor it or look at it when you go in for a follow-up. Your caregiver will find this log incredibly useful in determining the efficacy of your treatment. You will feel great knowing you are taking part in helping yourself get better (and potentially quicker too!).

 

Chronic Pain Management Entry Form

The additional benefits of using TrackMyStack’s platform is the ability to record any side effects felt as part of your regimen and record medicine adherence levels (and refill reminders). This level of detail will help all those managing your health learn about what may be causing your flare-ups, along with if you are on track with your treatment (and if not, hopefully motivate you!).

Pain Journal Entry
A 0-10 quantified pain scale, very similar to a Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

All of this takes little time to complete and is done in 2 steps:

  1. Step 1 – Click “Record an Entry” – to make an entry to your pain journal or log.
  2. Step 2 – Fill out as much or as little as you like. It is all managed from 1 screen. In as little as 20 seconds you can keep everyone in the loop on the status of your pain and your progress towards curbing it.

Many care givers require you to keep a Pain Management Log, which is a self-assessment log used for keeping track of pain, how long you have felt it, the medication associated to relieve the pain and severity.

Additionally our platform can be seen as a Personal Health Record (PHR) which will help you record all pivotal data about your health including but not limited to subjective things such as your mood, anxiety and symptoms that may be associated with pain as part of your Daily Pain Diary.

However, because a journal entry may be made in as little as 20 seconds, it does not mean that it is how long one should spend recording an entry. Your pain log becomes more valuable the more comprehensive your data is. Take extra time to answer these pain questions in the notes section when making your first or next post:

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. What does it “feel” like?
  2. Where does it hurt?
  3. Are there multiple types of pain?
  4. The duration of your pain.
  5. What did the pain prevent me from doing?

Things we will automatically answer for your nurse or doctor:

  1. What medicine or compound was taken at which time.
  2. When you felt your pain (day, night, all day).
  3. Any symptoms or side effects related to your pain.
  4. Your total adherence levels to your stack/regimen.
  5. Graphs & charts displaying time and health or just pain over time.
  6. The level of pain from a scale of 1 to 10.
  7. If the pain comes and goes (based on pattern of entry).
  8. If the pain interrupted your sleep, as you can also record how many hours you slept the night before.
  9. If the pain is getting worse or not.
  10. If it affected your appetite or not (as part of total calories consumed).
  11. What may be making it worse.
  12. The history of everything you have tried and when to manage your pain.
  13. The effectiveness of the medicine you are taking to manage your pain and the level of relief.
  14. Your Mood, Memory, Anxiety, Calories, Sleep and various other metrics that may correlate to your pain.
Pain charts and graphs
Pain Charts generated automatically using TrackMyStack. Sign up now and manage your pain instantly.


Health Conditions our users are tracking actively:

Shingles, Cluster Headaches, Frozen shoulder, Broken bones, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Heart attack, Slipped Disc, Cancer, Arthritis, Migraine, Sciatica, Kidney stones, Appendicitis, Trigeminal neuralgia, Pancreatitis, Gout, Endometriosis, Stomach ulcer, Chronic Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatism, PMS, Pain after a surgery/operation.

There are well over 300 other chronic health conditions and symptoms that may be managed on TrackMyStack using multiple stacks (diaries).

The one key take away is to track your health daily or multiple times daily, the data will not be conclusive if entered sporadically. Our professional pain tracker web app is mobile responsive, so you may access us via Android or iOS (a dedicated app is in the works for iPad and iPhone! but our website loads perfectly on any mobile device as of now through a browser). There are many scales to measure pain, some prefer, the Wong-Baker FACES pain Rating Scale, but we use a “0-10 Pain Scale” where 0 is No Pain. If you are ready to use a modern option to record your pain (rather than a physical pain assessment card or printable worksheet) and improve your treatment (possibly) from managing your own health, click here to get started right away and remember to maintain a good healthy attitude towards your health goal.

– Asher

References & Additional Resources:
http://theacpa.org – The American Chronic Pain Association
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/paintracking/201110/treat-chronic-pain-ongoing-experiment

Practicing Gratitude

How To Practice Gratitude

Being grateful
Being grateful

We have already discussed the benefits associated with writing and maintaining a gratitude journal. Those who regularly take time to write a journal entry daily on things they are thankful for experience many more positive feelings of emotion, they sleep much better, feel more alive, and generally express much more compassion and kindness. There have been studies done that state that they can even have a stronger immune system.

The feeling of gratitude should not be contained only for large occasions in one’s life but should and can be felt for smaller things in life as well. Even these small feelings of gratitude can lead to the above mentioned effects, claims UC David psychologist Robert Emmons. It is important to write regularly (as brief as it may need to be) on things for which you are thankful.

Since the benefits are many, I will quickly suggest ways in which you can start a gratitude journal and maintain the habit long term.

 

Variety of Thanks

Sometimes writing the same thing day after day or week after week can keep your brain from being thankful about other fresh grateful moments. You can consider writing about other things you may be grateful for, or writing the task in more detail to vary your entry for additional ‘unrealized gratefulness’. Think about what you are grateful for a bit more by asking yourself “why” up to three times. When focusing on new things around you, you will massively enhance your gratitude regimen. Doing this will slowly change the way you think about different situations in real life for the better.

You Need Momentum

gratitude thankfulness journal
“A Offline” Thankfulness Journal

Once you realize the benefits of maintaining a gratitude journal, you will want to start immediately. However the key to maintaining a journal effectively is Momentum. You need to make sure you set aside at least 5 minutes a day to write what you are thankful for, for the day. If you feel like you will be tired at night time, perhaps do a entry when you get home (from work, from school, etc), or the day after (in the morning). Keep in mind that although the task sounds simple, being consistent can be difficult, and so plan ahead and perhaps schedule your writing on your calendar (or better yet, consider adding ‘Write an Entry for my Gratitude Journal’ as part of your ‘Stack’ and set it as a reminder). 

 

The Gratitude Jar

Another common practice done by many is the Gratitude Jar, which involves writing your grateful movements on a sticky note or any piece of paper and dropping it in the jar to be reviewed at a later time. You will obviously not be able to keep track of your entries (in a ascending manner, like you would in a regular journal), but the goal here is to fill up the jar by an arbitrary time (New Years, Christmas, Birthday) at which point you can review what you were grateful for. The reason for keeping a jar and not tracking your gratitude using an app like TrackMyStack is that it keeps things more fun and exciting, see point above on keeping momentum.

Being Thankful of People

Humans are social creatures and as such it is known that if we interact with other’s, our level of happiness increases. It is no different when comes to writing your journal entries, if you focus on non material things and focus on people you are thankful to have in your life, you will see greater benefits from writing your journal. Also, consider telling your friend’s and family and having them start a journal of their own on TMS, or just let your friend know your thankful for having them in your life and why. This may lead to even greater moments of thankfulness down the line with the person.

Remember to keep ‘practicing gratitude’ fun and easy! Keeping a journal digitally has the added benefit of being able to be edited from anywhere. TrackMyStack does a great job of helping you maintain a daily gratitude journal! click here to start daily gratitude journal.

What is a Gratitude Journal?

The Gratitude Journal

grateful mindfulnessGratitude diaries or journals (often also referred to as a thankfulness journal) are lists of things for which one is grateful for. Although TrackMyStack was not originally created as a Gratitude Journal, it certainly has the capability to act as one. Not only can it act as a Gratitude journal it would be the most feature rich gratitude journal online, as it helps you manage your entire health and not just one’s psychological needs.

A Gratitude journal is used by those generally wish to focus their attention on the positive things happening in their life. Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful and appreciating the things in your life, regardless of how big or small it may be.

This idea is gaining more and more traction in the field of positive psychology. Studies find that those who are grateful frequently are significantly happier than those who are not. This hack is enough for take people out of depression, for free without medication, over time. This is not a way to ignore any large scale problems you may have in your life that you think you can fully ignore by writing down the things you are grateful for, but it will make you feel better and healthier helping you conquer the other problems in your life.

Positive psychology as mentioned earlier is the study that help you consistently enhance gratitude levels. The most popular of these methods is the journal that TrackMyStack is capable of doing has empirically shown to relieve depressive symptoms.

The benefits of a Gratitude Journal

The act of counting one’s blessings as monitored by Emoons and Mcullough found that it led to improved psychological and physical functioning. An added benefit of maintaining a gratitude journal was that users where more likely to spend more time working out, had fewer symptoms of physical illness as well. The mind is capable of inducing physical change via a better mentality, who would have thought.

The above example was done by patients who recorded what they were grateful for once a week and mentioned five things. However if you take it a step further and start recording entries in your diary daily, you can experience enhanced enthusiasm, determination, alertness and a “general increased overall positive affect.

Other benefits included: the increased likeliness to help others, more motivation to reach personal development goals. Additionally with those with a condition like Neuromuscular disease, a journal lead to increase optimism of one’s own life and a deeper sleep, greater positive emotions of self and others.  

The Journal can be started as early as childhood and if you think writing it down is not worth it, just look at all the benefits above and think again! It is free, it makes you healthy, and it doesn’t take time, additional reasons should not even need to be mentioned. If you can not write it down, and don’t want to use TMS to record entries in your gratitude journal, try to mention it in your head before sleep and you will gain at least a partial list of benefits that were mentioned above,

Starting a gratitude journal on the TMS web app is easy, the steps include:

  1. Sign up for an account
  2. Create a stack, you will be presented with questions, such as what to name your stack. Think of this as “a title for my journal”, after which you have the option to add a description or your goal with this journal.
  3. Optional Step: Add any supplements, medication or exercise you want to be reminded about or other things you may be doing for a better health.
  4. The last step is to click, Create a StackPost, or a journal entry to record your daily information, keep track of mood and other observations of daily living (ODL) to see how you measure up.
    1. You can attach as many photos as you’d like to each post.
    2. You can post as many times as you would like a day (more on this below).
    3. You may keep your journal private or open.
    4. You can start as many journals as you like.
    5. Keep in mind your gratitude entries are automatically backed-up, you have reminders (via email), accessible from anywhere/anytime online, is constantly getting upgraded with more features, can be exported and printed, can be used as a photo journal and to share quotes as well, and can be shared if needed on Facebook or other social media.

Of course these values are self quantified and empirical, however studies like this one have already proven the efficacy of said journal. Your goal should just be to write the entries and record your mood, anxiety, depression, weight or whatever you would like to measure whenever you like and see if a pattern emerges.

How to keep a gratitude journal

The steps to writing a gratitude journal are quite simple:

  1. Start by writing the date and your current mood. If you are using our web app to track your progress, today’s date will be chosen automatically. Use the sliders to select your mood, anxiety and other values.
  2. Continue to write what you are thankful for, start your sentence like: “I am grateful or thankful for < item > because < reason >.
  3. Repeat 3-7X and click save and you are done for the night.

The way this was done by Seligman et al is:

Participants were instructed to write down “three good things” that happened at the end of each day, in addition to a causal explanation for each good thing.

Studies have shown weekly journaling works best (through experiments they noticed higher levels of happiness amongst those that did it weekly) and writing down 3 to 10 items will yield the best results. In closing if you are going through any sort of depressive symptoms, or want to feel better, under no condition should you underestimate the effectiveness of using a gratitude journal, and luckily we have the best software in town. In just 5 minutes, you can rewrite your brain! Get started now.

 

P.S. We will be rolling out to Android & iPhone very soon, use your browser till then to access your stacks/journals till then. We will announce it here when we have launched.

Importance of Personal Health Records

PHR

The more TrackMyStack (TMS) has been getting developed from a simple idea making a list of supplements that could be shared with groups or as a reference for one self, it now can be seen more as a “Personal Health Manager (or PHM)”. This is not to make TMS appear larger than it is but it is because we now incorporate to an extent recording health-related quality of life (or HRQOL) metrics and include the ability to record other day to day metrics and activities as a medication log and a symptom tracker. In my eyes when software is able to perform all of this in one place, it is much more than a personal health record but rather a health manager. In terms of HRQOL, to quote:

Health related quality of life is a complex outcome measure increasing used in clinical trials and quality of care research. HRQOL ideally incorporates multiple domains, generally from the patient’s own perspective by assessing health status and maladies such as impairment, symptoms or disability.

Recently I was reading a study on how heart patients need to adhere to their stack at a level of 80% (time and dosage) otherwise they could risk hospitalization again, and followed that with another study where: when a symptom diary is provided a patient is more likely to survive, and survive much longer. So it cannot be argued that having a adherence tool attached to a symptom tracker is effective in helping people manage their health, it is a matter of how effective and how to get more people to use it, which is the situation we find ourself in. A quick study on why it is important to track your HRQOL (with ODL’s – observations of daily living, Medical Outcomes Study Short Forms (SF-12 and SF-36), the Sickness Impact Profile, and the Quality of Well-Being Scale).hrqol

BACKGROUND:
Patients with heart failure must monitor for and recognize escalating symptoms to take action to relieve symptoms and decrease hospitalizations. One way to promote patients’ engagement in symptom monitoring is by providing a symptom diary.

RESULTS:
The intervention group had longer event-free survival than the usual-care group (P = .03). There were no differences in changes in HRQOL scores between the groups over 3 months.

With TMS acting as en entire Personal Health Manager (series of Records) Consider the distinction this way: the traditional health record and the EHR revolve around data collected at (and important to) the clinical time period. But people don’t live from clinical episode to clinical episode – and health-related information, such as whether one’s stress is elevated due to family or work pressures or whether one’s chronic pain spikes with a sudden change in temperature (which would never make it into a traditional health record), are just as important to many people as standard clinical data are to providers.

This patient-originated data presents the opportunity to create a fuller picture of health – both individually, so patients can look at analyses of their own trend information, and in the aggregate, so patients can compare their symptoms with those of other patients with similar disease and condition. TrackMyStack inherently provides an open community which let’s anyone view any treatment undertaken by patients or people with health goals. These of course can be recorded and managed privately, but by default everything is shared by being open, as it can provide support or ideas for a treatment that may benefit a patient in ways they may not have been aware of.

Conclusion

These observations can also be useful to clinicians, for whom a richer picture of a patient’s experience can yield insights that lead to new treatment plans. Both patients and clinicians benefit from systems that incorporate ODL data and other forms of patient-generated data. The overall benefits of using TrackMyStack and maintaining a personal health record are thus very simple:

better-health-lower-cost