Best apps for managing multiple sclerosis

Womans hand poised over an iPhone with some apps showing. Her nails are decorated with glitter nail varnish.An estimated 110,000 people in the UK live with multiple sclerosis (MS). The condition affects the nerves in the brain and the spinal cord. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including balance and coordination problems, eyesight and hearing issues, fatigue, altered sensations and cognitive issues. Those with the condition can also have long periods of remission with few symptoms.

MS charities, including the MS Trust and the MS Society, believe self-management of MS can benefit people living with the condition.

There is a variety of apps which can help with self-management. Apps are available for:

From tracking your medications to meeting others to find support, game apps to boost cognition, mindfulness options to increase calmness and fitness apps which could help you maintain health and do some suitable exercise on your good days.

All apps are available for both Android and Apple unless otherwise stated. And, all apps are free unless otherwise stated, with occasional subscription options for more features.

Five best apps for self-management of multiple sclerosis (MS)

1. My MS Buddy

Created by consumer health website Healthline, this app offers one-on-one chats, group discussions for advice, support and the opportunity to find out the latest news and research around MS.

Each weekday the app creators lead a live discussion on subjects including community, wellness, treatments, daily living, inspiration and MS and career. You can be matched with members based on your treatment and interests and do instant messaging.

Download MS Buddy for Android

Download MS Buddy for iOs

2. My Multiple Sclerosis Diary

Image shows a diary on a table. Writing visible in the diary. The edge of a laptop is also in shot.An Android app for people with multiple sclerosis that are using injectable medicines and want help keeping track of their medicine stocks.

Developed by a company called Appxient, it tells you when to take them out of the fridge and when and where to inject them.

Currently, the app only works for medications that are taken daily, once a week or on set days of the week.

Download My Multiple Sclerosis Diary for Android

3. My MS Team

This is the app for My MSTeam, a social network and support group for people living with MS. It offers emotional support from others and insights about treatments and therapies. The company behind it is based in San Francisco, but there are people registered from various UK locations who are looking to meet up.

Find out more about online forums for people living with MS

You can post and follow photos and updates, share your daily ups and downs, give and receive hugs, search the Q&A section for help and also find local people to meet.

Download MS Team for Android

Download MS Team for iOs

4. MS Focus Radio

Black and white image shows a microphone in a recording studioUS-based MS Focus (The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation) is a nonprofit organisation that prioritises helping people with MS, and their families maintain quality of life. MS Focus has an interest in wellbeing.

The MS Focus radio app is the online radio its hosts and includes interesting and useful content available, which is accessible 24 hours a day. There’s a good variety of programmes, such as how to use breathwork and yoga to help with brain fog, practising emotional self-care, and how to get the most out of patient-centred care.

Download MS Focus Radio for iOs

Download MS Focus Radio for Android

5. Health Log

This Android App helps you track health and different symptoms and conditions of MS. With each entry, you can record the severity of the pain, location, potential triggers, treatments and any relief provided. You can then view statistics over time and use to show to health professionals if needed.

Download Health Log for Android

Best Apps for MS-related fatigue

Two men lying on a slab of broken concrete, looking exhausted. Overhead shot as if they have fallen.Fatigue, experienced as overwhelming tiredness, is a common symptom of MS. Some people find that it is the symptom that affects them most, but there are ways to manage it and minimise its effects on your life. 

We’ve listed a couple of apps here which might help. 

MS Energise

Released two years ago, MS Energise was created by researchers at the Universities of Auckland in New Zealand and Bournemouth in the UK.

The app supports the management of MS fatigue using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach. CBT approaches for MS fatigue have been developed, trialled in controlled studies, and found effective in MS fatigue by those who created the app. Currently only available on Apple devices.

We'd give it kudos for minimal scrolling needed to be easier for users with physical health issues or disabilities.

Download MS Energise for iOS

Mental Fatigue app

A simple app for charting fatigue levels and changes to energy over time. With the app, you can generate charts and lists to provide an overview of your fatigue. Created by independent developer Jan-Olof Karlsson.

Download Mental Fatigue app for iOS

Download Mental Fatigue app for Android

Best Apps to boost cognition if you have MS

MS can affect cognitive function. If you’re looking to boost your cognitive skills, these apps with various games, memory and brain training options might help.

There are apps available for iOS, and Android that can help with memory training, including spatial training and memory.

NeuroNation

Image shows a Rubiks cube in the foreground, and a mobile phone and laptop behindThis app offers memory training and tests to improve focus. It was awarded AOK Leonardo Health Prize for digital prevention and has more than 250,000 mainly five-star reviews on the App and Play stores (though some reviews complained the app isn’t suitable for those who are colour blind).

NeuroNation fans describe the app as fun. 

It performs an analysis of your strengths and potentials and creates a personal training plan. 

There are 27 exercises on 250 levels.

It is founded by the NeuroNation team comprising IT experts in collaboration with the division of experimental psychology and neuropsychology at the Free University in Berlin.

Download NeuroNation for iOS 

Download NeuroNation for Android

Elevate Brain Training Games

The app offers personalised brain training programmes designed to improve attention, speaking skills, processing speed, memory and math skills.

One reviewer wrote: “It’s only been three days, but the words section has made a huge impact on my life. I suffer from brain fog and find it difficult to talk, but this game has brought me quite a bit of relief.”

Download Elevate for iOS

Download Elevate for Android

Train your brain

This Android-only app has had more than one million downloads and achieves 5-star reviews from some previous users.

The app is designed to focus on memory and spatial thinking and improve concentration. While there are only seven games available, those on offer present a variety of training. 

It is created by Developer Grove FX.

Download Train Your Brain for Android

Best apps for students and young people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The silhouette of a young adult male walking between two shelves of booksMS sadly can affect young people of University age.

While there are limited apps explicitly aimed at young people with MS, there are lots of apps which could help this age group with peer support features and fun challenges. 

Here are a few of our suggestions.

What’s Up

What’s up uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help people cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. There is a Get Grounded page, which contains over 100 different questions to pinpoint what you’re feeling, and a Thinking Patterns page, which helps with reducing negative thoughts. Developed by Australian-based company Jackson Tempra.

Download What'sUp for iOS

Download What'sUp for Android

Super Better

A hand holds what appears to be. superhero mask. Sun shines through.Super Better is a top-rated app with more than 5,000 five star reviews on the Play Store. It’s fun and creative with the ability to create and customise your quests, challenges, and power-ups (such as hug yourself, or text someone to say thank you for something - which can make people feel better).

It’s designed for those with anxiety and depression, chronic pain and other conditions as an aid to build resilience and achieve goals. The focus is on cultivating your inner superhero. 

The app was developed by Jane McGonigal author of the book Super Better.

Download Super Better for IOS

Download Super Better for Android

notOK

notOK is a free app developed by a struggling teenager (and her teen brother) for teenagers. The app features a large, red button that can be activated to let close friends, family and their support network know help is needed.

Users can add up to five trusted contacts as part of their support group, so when they hit the digital panic button, a message, along with their current GPS location is sent to their contacts.

The message reads: “Hey, I’m not OK! Please call, text, or come find me.”

Download notOK for Android

Mind Shift

MindShift CBT app developed by the organisation Anxiety Canada has specific programmes for young people. The app uses strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help users feel better and less overwhelmed. On offer are thought-journals, coping cards, chill zone and confidence-building exercises. This app appears to be recommended by quite a few therapists, judging by the reviews.

Download Mind Shift for iOS

Download Mind Shift for Android

AV1 Robot app

Picture of a smiling girl with the white AV1 robot The AV1 app robot is designed for young people with long term health conditions who sometimes struggle to get to school or college.

The small white robot can be present in the classroom and act as the eyes and ears of the student. The student can view what the robot sees through its eyes using their device at home.

They can control the robot's movements through their phone or tablet, and speak to classmates through the microphone on their device. This app/ device is typically paid for by schools.

It is developed by the company No Isolation.

Download AV1 for iOS

Download AV1 for Android

How AbilityNet can help people living with Multiple Sclerosis

AbilityNet has a range of products and services that can help you make tech more accessible including consultancy, design reviews, auditing and user testing.

AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people and older people.

Call our free Helpline. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0800 269 545.

Arrange a home visit. We have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.

We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free. You may find our factsheets talking about voice recognition and keyboard alternatives useful.

My Computer My Way. A free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.