What?s in my chronic pain survival kit

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Pain management is different for everyone. What helps one person doesn’t always help another. In this blog post I list the things in my survival kit that I have and do to help with my pain management.

What?s in my chronic pain survival kit blog logo

My partner

She is amazing, and in all honesty I couldn’t cope without her. She’s my whole world and she just ‘gets’ me. On my bad pain days, a simple cuddle can be enough to make me feel better in myself. Obviously it does’t take the pain away, but the support, understanding and strength that she provides is what is important.

Me and my partner

My two Westies

Milo and Wesley are a big part of my pain management. They don’t understand my pain or why I struggle on my bad days, but they are there for cuddles, to cheer me up, and to distract me. Taking care of them is a priority and focusing on them is a huge help. Some days I don’t want to leave the house, but they need their walks so it encourages me to get some fresh air and a little exercise which can do wonders for my mental health.

Wesley and Milo my Westies

My phone

I hate to admit it, but what would we do without our smartphones. They are the ultimate bit of survival kit and allow us to do so much – keep connected with people, be reminded to do tasks that I may otherwise forget (chronic pain brain fog), view random things on the web, and read books and articles via Kindle or Pinterest for example. I specifically love my phone because I can use it lying down and remain in a comfy position.

A book or Kindle book

Books are a good way to keep distracted; they can take you away from your own reality. I only read non-fiction books, and I like a good mix of real books and Kindle books. The advantage of a Kindle book is that if I have my phone, I have my book as I don’t always carry my book with me.

Heat pack

You may have seen a previous blog post about my favourite heat pack – I just love it, and it is a vital part of my survival kit. It doesn’t always stop my pain, but it can take the edge off it and provide a warming comfort. I have a couple of others that I use too – a neck hot water bottle and a wheat bag. If you haven?t read my product review blog post, click the image below.

A link to my heat pack product review blog post


Other heat pack posts

Heat therapy for pain: everything you need to know

Heat packs for pain: helping you find the right one for you


A bath

For me, time in the bath is all about relaxing. And relaxing is a huge part of my pain management – it almost deserves its own paragraph. The heat in the bath helps my pain in all areas (neck, back, legs) and I take the opportunity to read a book, or watch some videos on my phone.

Walking

I love walking. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, just a walk to my local shop or with my dogs is good enough and gets me out in the fresh air and provide some moving meditation. There’s lots of suggestions that a walk can be a real benefit to our mental health, and a brisk walk can be enough exercise to count towards our daily/weekly move goals. I also like walking as it’s a simple way to keep my muscles moving and it doesn’t cost any money.

Joggers or PJs

I have to wear comfy clothing to prevent my coccyx pain (although I don’t have a coccyx). I spend 90% of my time in either joggers or pyjamas. I can wear jeans, but they’re painful. I can wear smart trousers but they have to be baggy. I can wear gym gear, such as leggings, but only for a short period of time before the pain kicks in. Comfort is an absolute must in my survival kit.

My coccyx cut-out cushion

I’ve mentioned this in a few previous blogs (including Why we must not let chronic pain stop us doing things we enjoy and Coccyx cushion: pain v embarrassment) and although I find it embarrassing, I have to use it. It’s not brilliant, but it does mean I can sit longer before the pain kicks in. I always have to use it when sitting on the sofa or at the dining table at home, and when in the car. Admittedly though I don’t always take it out with me as I can get so anxious about it, which causes me more concern, and sometimes it’s easier if I just have one thing to think about, the pain.

My coccyx cut out cushion on my chair

Sweets and chocolate

Simple treats should be a part of everyone?s survival kit. Sweets and chocolate can easily make a dull day a little brighter. They don’t stop my pain or make it any more bearable, but just something that I like to eat which makes me happy. And pain management can be as simple as doing something or enjoying something to help make us feel better and have little things to appreciate.

Beer

I also enjoy the odd beer here and there. I don’t drink a lot, but I find that it relaxes me, especially when I go out or to social situations. I always joke that it is a muscle relaxant and therefore it reduces my pain, but it actually is.

?This Works? Pillow Spray

I always find my pain more difficult to mange when I don’t sleep well. Chronic pain naturally causes fatigue so it is vital that I do what I can to help me sleep. I don’t use it all the time but the Pillow Spray can help me sleep a little better. It smells lovely and just a few sprays on my pillow can make all the difference between a good and poor night sleep.

?This Works? Stress Check Breathe In Spray

Stress and anxiety make my pain worse, so I also have to do what I can to limit these. I carry the?Breathe In Spray around with me and use it when things get a little bit overwhelming or I feel a little out of control, or simply stressed. You roll it on to pulse points and it helps you to feel more relaxed. I also take deep breaths through my nose and breathe it in too.

What it’s your chronic pain survival kit to help you manage your pain?

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21 thoughts on “What?s in my chronic pain survival kit

  1. Cynthia J. Coleman says:

    I have minimal cerebral palsy and several chronic illnesses- one of which is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PJs and jogging pants are also handy when you have to run to the bathroom . Never tried the pillow spray, but I had a lavender pillow spray once when I was at a hotel.

  2. Jennifer Gilmour says:

    Wow what a bag of tricks!
    I have to admit that I used to depend on my hot water bottle but now I can?t because I?ve burnt all my back and it?s all scarred 🙁
    I now have a heat wrap which is ok but doesn?t hit the spot, a tens machine as well, a bath is a must and I?ve recently started swimming again which I aim to do once a week!

    • Alice says:

      Great news about the swimming. Exercise is definitely a good thing to help with managing pain. I?m sorry to hear about the impact of the hot water bottle 🙁 I did a product review about a ClickHeat pack – this might be an alternative option for you?

    • Alice says:

      Wow – thank you. That?s brilliant. And thank you for sharing it. I hope they find it useful. And if they want me to write about something specific in the future please let me know ?

  3. Gloria says:

    Great ideas. Walking every day is sound advice. It benefits us in so many ways.
    And sometimes it’s important to put yourself and your needs first; no matter what else is going on!

  4. Lauren says:

    Some brilliant tips here and ideas (I?d never heard of the cushion!) Will put some of them into practice while I?m struggling with sciatica x

  5. Judy says:

    Hi Alice,
    It must be pretty rotten living with chronic pain, but I like your practical and positive approach to trying to make it more bearable. You have given lots of great tips and advice here that I am sure will be very helpful to others. 🙂

  6. Rowena says:

    Alice, you have some fabulous tips on your blog. I should put some thought into what’s in my toolkit for living with my auto-immune disease. Humour is definitely in there, blogging and chocolate. My family is also critical and that includes my dogs.
    Our two pups aren’t trained to walk on a loose leash yet and almost become airborne when we set out. They’re both working dogs which sounds like a crazy choice for someone with serious fatigue but the idea was that the kids would walk them. Our older dog is easy for me to walk. The pups though are very entertaining and unify our family.
    That inner circle of people who know and I understand what is really going on with me is also a critical part of my toolkit.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  7. Shailaja Vishwanath says:

    I admire your positivity through this post. It’s almost like a gratitude list, isn’t it? The list of things most of us take for granted and you’ve given them life by highlighting why each of these things mean the world to you.

    You are inspiring, in your need to survive, stay focused on the good and to work past the pain.

    Sending you lots of love and light.

  8. Shelley says:

    I love your tool kit, Ali. It?s so important to work out how we can help ourselves and what/who makes our day easier. I use Neom lavender hand cream to help me sleep and that seems to do the trick for me. Books are an obvious must in my own tool kit haha, but I?m also a huge movie fan so a cinema trip or film night boosts my wellbeing.

    • Alice says:

      I did forget to include ?a good drama or film? in my list. Netflix is the most suitable option so I can lie down at home and watch TV. I?ll look in to that hand cream too.

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