If you have a chronic illness or live with daily chronic pain you are physician may have requested for you to keep a diary of your pain levels so that he can monitor what activities or influences in your life can increase your level of pain. He may have recommended that you also record your sleep patterns and even your diet

Anyone who has ever tried to do this can find it overwhelming. However, it can be extremely helpful to both you and your doctor when you have an increase in inflammation or in a extreme flare. What caused the increase in pain? The weather? Something you ate? A new medication? A stressful event?

Ironically, while those of us with pain may find it hard to write down what we are doing, eating, and how we are medicating, other people are on Twitter and are recording what they ate for breakfast, how they are recovering from a cold, and when they are up working at 3 a.m. in the morning. . . and thinking it is fun!

Now is the time for those of us who have a chronic illness to let Twitter worked for us! This social networking tool has been used to help people with dieting, exercise, and even encouragement to stop smoking. But it may best benefit those of us with illness, who need to record enough of our life to figure out what is causing an increase in pain.

Here are 5 steps to use Twitter to understand the causes your pain:

[1] Set up a Twitter account just for your chronic pain diary. If you already have a Twitter account, set up a new one that will remain private. When you open it you have the option under "settings" to make it private, meaning you have to approve any followers. Since this is your pain diary, you likely won't wish to approve any followers. It can seem strange to not want any followers if you are already a Twitterer typically seek to increase your followers.

[2] You can now write your posts at any time. You are restricted to 140 characters, but this keeps it to be a less cumbersome task. You can always submit more than one post to describe a particular situation. Set up your account so that you are able to send text messages from your cell phone so you can make posts from anywhere, not just at the computer.

[3] Remember to post at the very least any major events that are not part of your typical day and your body's response to them. For example a post may include how you woke up feeling, major weather influences, if you took extra medication, or if you are active or solitary during the day. You can post whatever information may be of value to you at some point.

[4] Before a doctor's visit, simply log on to Twitter and print out the posts if your doctor wants a copy. Highlight any major changes or influences in your patterns.

[5] If you already use twitter for personal or business reasons, consider using a service that will post to more than one account at a time so that you are regular tweets that share where you are and what you are doing can also post to your twitter chronic pain log without any additional effort.

While there are bound to be some fancy applications for Twitter or other pain log tools in the future of Web 2.0 medicine, with a simple private Twitter account you can start keeping your illness records in just a few minutes at no cost. It's times like this we love the internet.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Copen is the founder of Invisible Illness Awareness Week held each year in Sept and featuring a 5-day virtual conference online. Follow Invisible Illness Week on Twitter for prizes and info. Blog about invisible illness on your site, be a featured guest blogger, meet others, read articles and lots more. Make a impact today!