Try it out. The long list

There isn’t much that can be done to dramatically ease chronic pain. The medical community calls it “intractable” and “difficult”. The same can be said for many chronic disease symptoms. While we have treatments that show promise and medications that reduce severity, actual life-changing solutions are rare. 

It is hard not to stew in frustration and depression when you deal with constant broken body issues. Every single moment reminds you why you are different and how you don’t function. Due to that incessant aggravation, I’ve compiled a list of things I use and do to make my life just a little softer. It’s an ever-growing list but I think the current line up is still helpful.

Please keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor. Our bodies are wildly unique and our conditions require individualized care. These things currently work for me. As my illnesses change, so to will my treatments and soothing methods. This list doesn’t include any prescription medications or medical procedures because those deserve their own column. These things are purely accouterments and vary in efficacy, price, and accessibility. Any brands I name are just listed for your reference and I am not supporting them nor am I dismissing other brands. I suggest that you do research and try out different tips and tools that may bring you a bit of peace.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Lidocaine patches– Provides numbing but not super effective for joint pain

Salonpas is okay but the prescription ones are stronger and stick better

Gauze wrap– Softer than sports wraps and cloth/plastic injury wraps

Pure cotton is the softest and doesn’t leave a contact skin reaction

Elastic bandage wrap– Goes over the gauze wrap for more pressure & stability

ACE wrap that sticks to itself or has metal hooks so no tape is needed

Stretching– Done lightly without leaning too far into the flexibility

Very carefully avoiding dislocations and hyperextensions

Cracking/Shifting joints– Vital to keep joints in place, correct sublux, and expel air

Not popping them out of socket, just gentle and aware movements that bring relief 

Tennis ball– For rolling out knots and pinches without too much pressure

Any fresh opened can’s balls are firm and used ones are more pliable

Light cushioned day shoes– Helps lessen pain & keeps ankles from rolling

Adidas Cloudfoam for activities, Sam Edleman Felicia for summer, and Ugg boots for winter

Mattress– Firm but not hard and just soft enough to provide cushioning 

Nest mattress made in the US; the foam can hold too much body heat but cost is reasonable and not overloaded with hormone altering chemicals

Easy clothing– Gliding zippers, few buttons, and simple to take on and off

Sundresses, Zella leggings, oversize sweaters, Paige jeans, and pull on skirts

Jar opener– Critical for opening jars, bottles, and anything with a lid

OXO Good Grips or Bloss Anti-skid for manual Hamilton Beach for automatic

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Salt– Keeps blood pressure up and encourages water intake

Soy sauce, sea salt, mustard, pickles, and other high sodium ingredients 

High pillows– Changing positions suddenly from laying flat to sitting up drops blood pressure

Wamsutta for bed pillows and any firm oversize couch pillows help

Shower bar– A well secured bar helps steady possible fainting

Any waterproof bar that bolts to the shower wall, is weight baring, & has a grip 

Gastroparesis

Laxative– Encourages regular bowl movements

Miralax daily and Smooth Move tea or Dulcolax suppositories for constipation

Wedge pillows– Sleeping with the upper body elevated helps ease nausea & vomiting

Brentwood Home and Medslant maintain their shape

Papaya– Enzyme chewables or fresh fruit

Swanson Health and American Health chewables fresh organic pink or red papaya

Fermented foods– Low sugar and active beneficial bacteria but hard finding out which are easy to digest

Bubbies and 365 as well as various small brand pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and fish

Peppermint tea– Helps calm nausea

Twinings and Traditional Medicinals or fresh peppermint leaves from my garden

Warming spices– Helps with nausea, digestion, and inflammation

Any high-quality (whole or recently ground) cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, etc.

Ginger– Used in almost any form helps with nausea and inflammation

Fresh organic root for tea, candied ginger, powdered and raw for cooking

Delivery smoothies– Makes getting important nutrients & vitamins easier

Daily Harvest pre-measured, cut, and packaged organic fruits and vegetables

Chronic Daily Migraines

Analgesics– OTC medicines that sometimes help stop a migraine from starting

Acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine rarely help and can cause rebound pain

Cold washcloth– Constricts blood vessels and generally provides cooling sensation

Any brand of soft material covering the forehead and eyes

EFT/Tapping– Used to distract from pain and helps some people completely

YouTube technique videos, medical journal articles, and guides from a headache clinic

Posture– Using correct posture and not bending over

Some migraines flare from certain positions so avoiding postures such as bending at the waist

Ear plugs– Helps with sound sensitivity and sound triggers

Mack’s Snore Blockers and Skull Candy over-the-ear headphones 

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Antihistamine– OTC medications can help lower histamine levels

Benadryl and Zyrtec

Lidocaine cream– Momentary relief from itching

Icy Hot Roll On

Anti-itch lotion– Temporary relief from itching, irritated, and scratched skin

Cerave, Aveeno, and Cetaphil go on before any vanity lotions

Cold water– Eases itching and pain from inflammation

Ocean water is great but avoid chlorine and water that irritates sensitivities

Gloves– For use with cleaning supplies, dust, and cardboard

Medical grade latex free Nitrile gloves

Small Fiber Autonomic Neuropathy

Lidocaine patches– Numbing where they are applied

Salonpas is okay but the prescription ones are stronger and stick better

Analgesics– OTC medicines that sometimes help with inflammation

Acetaminophen and aspirin mildly help and can cause rebound pain

Soft clothing– Critical to being able to wear anything but difficult to find

PJ Salvage, Free People, Paige, Lush, Free Press, Roxy, Adidas, Alo, Zella, Rails, and Barefoot Dreams are decently priced soft material brands. A lot of clothing is softest on the outside (I don’t know why) so if I am home, I turn the item inside out and wear it that way

Soft bedding– Another product that is difficult to find but super important for getting sleep

Vintage washed cotton or flannel sheets. Some silk sheets are soft and durable

Cold water– Eases pain in hot hands and feet as well as reducing inflammation

Cold water takes some getting use to but makes the after water symptoms lessen

Padded gloves– Used on days when hands and fingers are in extreme pain

Weightlifting gloves with open fingers, full palm padding, and breathable soft fabric

Fans– Helps when the body isn’t doing correct temperature regulation 

Dyson or Lasko quiet non-direct room fans or an overhead/ceiling fan

Bathtub– Sitting in the shower takes pressure off the feet and legs on painful days. It also allows washing without balancing or possibly slipping

Any brand that allows stepping in and out easily. A shower chair also works

Spinner luggage– Needs to be light, move in any direction with ease, & support weight

Tumi, American Tourister, and Samsonite

Slippers– Padding helps when standing or walking on wood, concrete, or stone

Ugg slippers or Darn Tough padded socks

A few things that are luxurious (and sometimes expensive) but absolutely help with overall symptom relief or just personal comfort when I can afford to partake

Massages – Acupuncture – CBD Drinks – Acupressure – Craniosacral Therapy – Petting Animals – Time in the Ocean – Physical Therapy – Facials – Cashmere Clothing – Experimental Treatments – Expensive Emerging Medical Technology

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