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27 'Hacks' That Can Make Life With Chronic Pain Easier

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There are many challenges involved in living with chronic pain. Not only can the physical symptoms be painful and debilitating, but experiencing them day in and day out can be mentally exhausting as well. Although some pain medications may help, often there is no single cure or treatment that can completely alleviate the pain. Plus, since everyone experiences pain differently, what may work for one isn’t always the answer for another.

While there may not be a definitive “cure” for many types of chronic pain, some people have developed tricks to reduce pain or accommodations that make life with pain more comfortable. We asked our Mighty community to share some of the “hacks” they use to make life with chronic pain a little easier. Perhaps some of these tips can help you, too.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “I set my alarm an hour early when pain is very bad so I can take analgesia meds and they are kicking in when I have to get up.”

2. “Having a bar stool in the kitchen so I can prepare and cook food has really helped instead of standing.”

3. “Rice in a slipper sock makes a great microwaveable heat pack. You can also use knee-high long socks or cut the leg off a pair of children’s leggings. Simply fill the ‘leg’ with rice and knot each end. Throw it in the fridge/freezer to use as a makeshift cool pack also! You can add a few drops of essential oils to the rice, stir and let it dry before filling your sock to add a great soothing aroma. Lavender is a great help for sleeping at night while the heat soothes also.”

4. “In my work, I get to put 100 percent of my focus and energy into helping others, one family at a time. It usually doesn’t register that I’m in pain while I’m working.”

5. “Ehlers-Danlos syndrome here. I put a mesh-bottomed lawn chair in the shower. When I’m in too much pain to stand in the shower, it’s a godsend, and way cheaper than a ‘shower chair.’”

6. “When we bought our new car (after playing Goldilocks) we got a model that has heated seats. They are so amazing for my back and hips.”

7. “Train a service dog to help with the tasks that can’t be done when you are at your worst.”

8. “A pain management therapist told me to write up index cards that describe exactly what to do when I’m in medium to high pain, so there was no guesswork. I just read and know what to do.”

9. “I have a pair of long kitchen tongs attached to my forearm crutches with a rubber band. I use them to pick things up when bending is not an option.”

10. “My hacks for my ankylosing spondylitis and arthritis are to spend a lot of time in water, whether it be the pool or the tub! It helps take the pressure off. I also use a TENS unit for my back pain.”

11. “The best way I can put it is I made cheap cabinet liners grips for bottle openers. They have enough grip on them to help me open items and I have them in almost every room.”

12. “I lay on the floor almost all day with my knees at my chest. I sit in high chairs at home and stand at the doctor’s office.”

13. “Sticking to a routine for me is so important in the effective management of chronic pain.”

14. “When I want to cook something but either don’t have the energy or hand strength for cutting and prepping vegetables, I get them pre-cut and portioned out perfectly from the salad bar. No extras that I need to use before it goes bad. Just the perfect amount for whatever I want to make. Usually ends up cheaper than buying all the individual veggies, too!”

15. “To help with arthritis, my mom gave me a bamboo pillow. It’s super thick and kinda firm, so it’s a great neck and back support.”

16. “I wash my hair at night and put it up before bed while it’s still wet. This makes blow drying or fixing it easier in the morning when I am my slowest. Less work to do during my morning routine.”

17. “I had spinal cord compression, which causes my muscles to spasm on longer car rides. I bought a memory foam mattress pad and cut it to size to place on my car seat, and put a baby mattress sheet over it.”

18. “I try to keep everything in the refrigerator and pantries on upper shelves and towards the front, since I cannot bend to get or see anything lower than waist height.”

19. “Elevating my feet any chance I get to prevent/ease the swelling due to lupus. People might think I’m ‘chilling’ but really it is a hack I use often.”

20. “I have Crohn’s disease. For years now when my stomach is sore (but not bad enough for pain meds), I eat popsicles. Not ice cream – it must be hard, very frozen popsicles. I bite them and swallow the pieces whole. It works like putting ice on a sore muscle. After eating a few, my stomach often feels much better as the ice numbs the pain!”

21. “Having a waterbed. I’m absolutely miserable if I sleep on anything else; halfway through the night I’ll have sore pressure points everywhere I touch the bed. The waterbed relieves so much of the pressure, and can be heated for extra soothing.”

22. “I [use] distractions: music, a good TV show, a book, getting out of the house when possible, a good conversation, change of scenery… they all help to mask the pain for just a bit. Relaxation methods like essential oils and spa music help at night when the insomnia kicks in full force. A good bath helps also.”

23. “Heated wheat packs. They are my savior. If you experience cold pains (I have fibromyalgia) then definitely give these a go.”

24. “I pick all my outfits out for the week and put them in a line-up. I just pull one out in the morning. It makes it so much easier for me. I don’t wear makeup anymore either, I only wear liquid lipstick.”

25. “I have fibromyalgia and at the end of the day my pain reaches a peak where I’m so hot from the inflammation and so nauseous from the pain. I make myself a mint tea slushy at night and freeze it so that the next day when the pain peaks, I have something cold and healthy that helps with the nausea, and it’s a fun little treat for making it through the day.”

26. “My husband got me a body pillow that I call my ‘cloud.’ On particularly painful days I can put it on our sofa and lay on it for extra cushioning. I’m much more comfortable that way.”

27. “Epsom salt baths are a major part of my life. I also keep granola bars or fruit snacks and a filled water bottle in a drawer near by bed for days when the kitchen is just too far.”

27 'Hacks' That Can Make Life With Chronic Pain Easier
Originally published: June 23, 2017
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