Holiday Gift Ideas for a Loved One With Chronic Pain


For those of you who are looking to buy gifts for a loved one with chronic pain, here are some gift ideas from someone with a chronic pain condition (fibromyalgia):

1. Cold weather gifts

During cold days, many people with chronic pain tend to feel increased pain. Warm gifts can help to soothe the pain.

Heat pads: Heat pads can vary from typical around-the-neck pads to pads with Velcro that can stay in place. If your loved one likes aromatherapy, some pads come with a lavender scent, which can be very relaxing.

Soft cuddly blankets: For people like me, when having increased pain, there can also be a heightened sensitivity to texture. A soft snuggly blanket can be used for extra warmth and comfort.

2. Mobility gifts

Since chronic pain can make mobility a challenge, these items can help make life a little easier.

Electric toothbrush: It’s a great stocking stuffer that requires far less physical effort than a manual toothbrush, with a more thorough clean.

Bags with wheels: Everything from insulated bags for groceries to briefcases for work can help make traveling anywhere easier.

Extension claws: With a handheld extension claw, your loved one can grab things they dropped, or use it to reach for small items from above that can be difficult to grab.

Kitchen electronic appliances: Anything from an egg cooker to an electric toaster oven can help make cooking wholesome food less strenuous to prepare. And when possible, make sure the item is dishwasher safe.

3. Clothing

When experiencing more pain, even dressing can be a challenge. These clothing items can help make dressing easier.

Tracksuits/yoga clothes: These suits can be worn during painful days, both in and out of the home. Because these suits give me a little more room for flexibility than normal clothes, I find it easier to wear them during medical appointments and physical therapy.

Beanie/turban/cap: On the days I have bad fibro flare-ups, putting my hair in a ponytail is painful. So, if I have to go out, I like being able to cover my messy hair with something that can also keep me warm.

Soled slippers/orthopedic shoes: Comfortable footwear is a must for chronic pain.  Orthopedic shoes can be used for daily use. When putting on regular shoes is too difficult, soled slippers can be used for both around the house and going out.

Compression socks/gloves: Walking or grasping can be challenging during painful days. Compression clothing can make these tasks a little easier.

4. Gift cards

While gift cards/certificates are a standard for gifts, the right gift cards/certificates can help tremendously.

Pharmacy: Due to the many over-the-counter items we need from the pharmacy to maintain our health, this is always a great gift.

Gas: There have been times where I had to cancel a medical appointment because I didn’t have enough gas to get there. With a gas card, I can get to my appointment without worrying if I have enough gas to get there.

Massage: For many people with chronic pain, massage therapy helps reduce pain. Before buying the certificate, make sure the facility has a trained massage therapist who is experienced in working with people with chronic pain.

Entertainment: Anything from books to movies to music can help us by distracting us from our pain.

Spa: Any spa treatment, like a manicure, pedicure or facial, can help us to relax, which can be difficult to do when in pain.

Grocery store: Since a special diet is often needed for people with chronic pain conditions, it can get expensive quickly. Before buying a grocery store gift card, make sure you know which store they shop at.

5. Other

Help vouchers: When I was little, Mom would make us vouchers we could redeem for favors, like a back rub or a trip to our favorite store. If you have the time, you can make vouchers with redeemable favors, like a ride to the doctor or helping us clean. Because sometimes, the best gift you can give someone with chronic pain is helping us when we are in need.

Funny homemade card: My little brother, when he didn’t have money for a gift from the store, would make me a funny card with references to things I like. These cards not only continue to make me laugh, but they also reminded me how much I’m loved and cared for. Things we tend to forget, especially when in pain.

Cash: It’s the most flexible gift. Due to the cost of chronic illness, cash can be used to buy or pay for things that are needed to maintain health, like medications or utilities.

I hope this list of gift ideas is helpful. Happy shopping!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via noblige on Getty Images


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Pain

woman touching side of head in pain

When You Realize the Pain Is in Control

I am what some may call “structured” or an “in control” type of person. I prepare for the next day the night before, I lay out clothes and get meals prepped. I like to be ready for anything and just be prepared. When I was diagnosed with lupus, I thought I would be fine. I [...]
Hands pulling open closet doors.

Coming Out as a Person With an Invisible Disability

You get sick. Then you get well, or die. At least that is how we imagine it. Disability leaves us somewhere else: not sick or well, not recovering or rapidly declining. We live in an in-between for which I must make up and reappropriate words: the white room is the temporary calm of the doctor’s [...]
woman taking a photo of herself on her phone

A Portrait of Chronic Pain

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, “but you don’t look like you’re in pain,” I would be rich. Literally. For some reason, we all have this conceived notion of what pain or illness is supposed to look like, and we don’t understand that pain is so much more [...]
black and white photo of a woman

The Art of Coping: How Music Helped Me Express My Anger About Chronic Pain

Emotion. It’s a touchy subject for some. What you feel about having an illness or how that feeling is affecting your illness. I had a hard time with that one. When I started getting my headaches and jaw/ear aches it was a stressful time. I attributed how I felt to that. But anger, frustration and [...]