Chronic pain conditions don’t take a holiday. Even when days are merry and bright, an estimated 100 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic pain. This pain can impact their enjoyment of holidays spent with family and friends, but there are some chronic pain gifts you can give to bring them a little cheer and lessen their pain.
The best chronic pain gifts in 2018
Here’s our best choices in 2018. We give options for splurges, last minute chronic pain gifts, and affordable or even DIY options.
1. A clean house
This seems unglamorous, but the truth is that chronic pain sufferers have difficulty cleaning their homes on bad days. On good days, who wants to clean the house?
Make a coupon book good for one cleaning every month, or hire a local company to come in and clean at the chronic pain patient’s convenience. This thoughtful gift is two gifts in one: a clean house and extra time!
2. Spa days
There are many ways to pamper a chronic pain patient. The easiest way is to find a local spa and book them a couple of treatments. Massages, facials, and pedicures are especially relaxing.
Another alternative is to schedule a spa day at home and give them tools that they can enjoy year round. A paraffin wax bath can be purchased online, or you can create one at home. The heat of the wax can relieve pain in the muscles and tendons, but if it’s cooling for painful joints and inflammation you need, a cooling mitten may be a good gift. Run a hot bath with Epsom salts and relaxing essential oils, then chill the mittens for muscle relaxation and joint pain relief at the same time!
3. A delicious dinner
If the foodie in your life happens to suffer from chronic pain, there are useful kitchen gadgets to help make cooking tasks easier.
OXO Good Grips tools have padded, ergonomic handles that are easier for arthritic hands to operate. Additionally, a good jar, can, and bottle opener can make all the difference for a cook with chronic pain, as can a comfortable kitchen mat.
4. Video games
This may seem counterintuitive: buying a video game for a chronic pain patient when most doctors recommend more movement? These are not your father’s videogames. Nintendo and Playstation have video games that promote movement, such as Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Dance, Dance Revolution, and others.
For young kids suffering from chronic pain or other conditions that might make regular sports painful or dangerous, these games can help them stay active while still qualifying as a fun gift!
5. Adaptive equipment
Got a golfer on your list? If he or she has limited their tee time due to chronic pain, consider getting them special golf grips to help. These grips are larger and have extra nubs and grippy material so that the golfer can use less strength. For arthritic hands, this can be a way to stay in the game.
In addition, braces and other supportive gear for sports such as gloves, wraps, insoles, and compression socks and braces may not be exciting gifts, but if they help chronic pain patients stay active they will be welcomed!
6. Gardening tools
Being outside in nature is therapeutic and soothing, elevating mood and administering a daily dose of vitamin D. Some chronic pain patients are unable to tend their plants. Look for adaptive tools and seating options for the avid gardener, or offer to build them a raised bed for easier access.
Many chronic pain patients have abandoned the idea of jewelry long ago. Rings and bangles won’t fit over painful joints, and earrings and necklaces are impossible to fasten.
A Jewelry Helper accessory kit can handle those necklaces and earrings with ease. This kit helps adapt bracelets and necklaces with magnetic clasps and also includes a “hooker” that helps with fastening necklaces, closing zippers, and buttoning buttons. You can also purchase individual kits to adapt favorite necklaces to magnetic clasps, or visit a jeweler and have them adapted for you.
Along with adaptive jewelry comes adaptive chronic pain friendly clothing. This can be anything that doesn’t have a million tricky buttons, clasps, or zippers. A pair of luxurious gloves or a scarf provides soothing warmth in cold weather, or try a beautiful, fluffy robe and slippers for comfort at home.
Winter is a time of gorgeous knits, and easy dressing needn’t mean unfashionable dressing. On Etsy alone there are hundreds of handmade sweaters for all ages and styles.
Sometimes chronic pain is debilitating, and one of the best chronic pain gifts for the person who is suffering is a good distraction. With a subscription to Netflix or Hulu they can stream movies and TV shows instantly.
For the literary minded, Tailored Book Recommendations will ship books directly to a gift recipient’s door every quarter or send customized PDF recommendations. The books are chosen based on previously enjoyed books, with an expert book recommender assigned to them.
Audible also provides audiobook subscriptions for those who love listening to their books. Magazine subscriptions can be another excellent monthly present that lasts all year. Look on Amazon for deals and order multiple subscriptions to keep them in reading material all month long!
Also consider ___-of-the-month clubs. The sky’s the limit for these, the ultimate in last-minute Christmas gifts. These are designed to be given as gifts, so the majority of them come with printable gift cards (no extra card purchase necessary!). From beer to bacon to bagels, there is something for everyone.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for a chronic pain patient is the feeling of isolation. If you are not the one suffering, it can be difficult to understand what they are feeling. Chronic pain patients have rates of depression that are triple the general population. This depression can trigger a vicious cycle of pain, withdrawal, and more depression.
Give your time as a gift. Don’t just text or call. If it is convenient for the chronic pain patient, visit in person with lunch, a movie, a game, or just a cup of tea. Go for a walk, sit in the sun, or take a trip to the store to browse or for necessities. Make this visit a regular occurrence throughout the year, and make sure that you are no trouble.
Some chronic pain patients miss entertaining and may want to make snacks to serve, but others may prefer to go out. Let them decide, then give them your heart and your ear for an afternoon. The benefit of this gift will extend to giver and recipient.
Last-minute chronic pain gifts
If find yourself scrambling for last-minute gifts, not to worry. Quick and easy chronic pain gifts can be found many different places this time of year. With a little ingenuity you can finish up your list in time for the holiday! Here’s some of our favorite ideas.
11. Grocery store gift baskets
Christmas gifts from the grocery store offer a bonus: you can tackle weekly grocery shopping while picking up a few last minute gifts. Here are some ideas for themed gift baskets you can put together in the store:
- Coffee and chocolate: Select organic coffee, flavored syrups, a couple mugs, a tin of hot chocolate mix, and some seasonal marshmallows.
- Cheese and wine: Not all grocery stores carry wine, but if they do, head to the gourmet section of the deli and pick up a few different kinds of cheeses and meats (like coppa). Add gourmet crackers, a little fig jam, a bottle of wine, and perhaps some festive cheese knives or spreaders if your grocery has a Christmas gifts section.
- Fruit: Choose only seasonal, colorful fruit (think citrus and pomegranates, or perfect seckel pears). Wrap in a basket with a beautiful red bow.
Likewise, many grocery stores have a small housewares section. You could also put together a cupcake baking set with muffin tins, cupcake liners, and a potholder. Include your favorite cupcake recipes.
Have multiple gifts to buy? Get a dozen Mason jars and find a great recipe for cookie mix in a jar or pancake mix in a jar. Spend an hour or two creating a dozen last-minute Christmas gifts for teachers, mail carriers, or as hostess gifts. For gluten-free folks, make your own gluten-free flour mix that substitutes cup-for-cup for all-purpose flour, or find a similar mix in the natural food section.
How did people survive last-minute Christmas gift shopping before the internet? The internet makes gift shopping possible even up to Christmas day. Think outside the box for things that aren’t things and don’t need to be shipped. Some of the best options are experiences, from sites like Living Social and Groupon.
Living Social and Groupon have museum tickets, balloon rides, stained glass classes and more, all ready for purchase, most deeply discounted, and all easy to give as gifts. Sign up to get notifications in the area where your gift recipient lives (you can always change this later), then watch the daily deals roll into your inbox.
13. Charitable contributions
For the person who has everything, sometimes the best last-minute Christmas gift is giving to a charity in their name. Making a contribution to a charity they support is also an excellent gift.
You can also find a great cause or product that your gift recipient might love and contribute in their name on sites like Kickstarter. Then, when the Kickstarter is funded, they get the reward. Discover different Kickstarter projects, choose a reward level, contribute, and then write a card, telling your recipient what they will be getting.
14. Customized photo projects
Office supply stores offer a plethora of last-minute gift ideas for nearly everyone on your list. They also usually have a wide assortment of products that can be customized with photos.
Make a calendar, mug, or t-shirt with family photos. These require a bit more effort and usually a 24-hour lead time (at least), so you cannot wait until the very last minute, but they are an option for a more personal gift if you have a couple days.
15. Journals and calendars
Reflection can be so important with chronic pain. Consider buying your loved one a journal to capture their thoughts or a calendar to organize their lives.
These come in every theme and price point you can imagine. Pair a leather-bound journal with a high-end writing instrument and you have a luxurious, last-minute gift.
16. Gift cards
If all else fails, many grocery and retail stores offer fee-free gift cards to stores and restaurants. It may not be the most personal gift you have ever given, but it will work in a pinch!
If you know a bit more about where they buy their medications or chronic pain supplies, consider buying them gift cards for their favorite pharmacy, Costco, or Target. They’ll appreciate the help.
What are the best chronic pain gifts you’ve ever received or given? Share your ideas in the comments for more gift-giving inspiration!
Do you need help managing your pain? You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.