Great Gift Ideas!
People who are sick can always use thoughtful gifts. On holidays and special occasions
you have a chance to give gifts and gadgets that take the edge off, and let people know
And there are a lot of them. Nearly one-third of Americans have experienced chronic pain
or have a chronic pain condition. Here are a few gifts that can help them out.
Serta Supreme Memory Foam Standard Pillow
Nearly all people who have fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by fatigue and
muscle pain, say they have problems sleeping, according to a 2007 study.
This could be for a variety of reasons, but the support from this pillow ($40, target.com)
will at least help eliminate neck and back pain that may be keeping them awake.
Shiatsu Massaging Seat Cushion
A gift certificate for a massage may be a special treat, but a personal massager is a gift
that keeps on giving. For full body relief, pain patients can spend some time with this
seat cover ($150, brookstone.com) in their favorite chair.
For smaller aches and pains (and a less pricey gift), check out handheld massagers like
the I-Need Soothing Heated Massager ($50).
Pain patients seeking treatment for their symptoms through biofeedback are essentially
meditating to relieve pain.
Nature sounds (from $7, serenitysounds.com), and classical music are meditation favorites,
as is the popular New Age artist Enya ($19, amazon.com).
Yoga to the Rescue
Studies show that yoga can relieve chronic pain, especially in the lower back. However,
classes at the gym may not be the most comfortable place for someone in pain to practice.
So, turn their living room into a studio with this at-home workout DVD that specifically
targets back pain ($15, amazon.com).
Both acupuncture and massage can be useful therapies in alleviating pain, and both are
much more mainstream and accessible than they once were.
Book a session for someone at his or her local spa, or find a nearby acupuncturist at
Canes with Character
Sometimes pain is bad enough to warrant the use of some less-than-exciting orthopedic
aids. But who wants to clomp around in a boring cast or old-fashioned cane?
Broken Beauties makes hundreds of products like cute crutches covers, including one with
stuffed animals ($30), fashionable slings, and cool canes. There's a skull-headed cane
($60) and a "secret agent" one with a built-in flashlight and pill holder ($70).
Or check out this exact replica of Dr. Gregory House's flame-patterned walking cane from
the TV show House ($30, fashionablecanes.com).
There are no definitive links between eating certain foods and eliminating chronic pain;
however, some foods pack natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that can't hurt.
The Better-Than-Aspirin pain relief basket ($60, wellbaskets.com) is stocked with pain
patients in mind. It has healthy snacks and treats made with cherries and ginger, which
have natural anti-inflammatory properties. (Read more on how food can affect pain.)
Balance Ball Chair
For the chronic pain patient stuck at a desk all day, the type of chair he or she sits in
can make a big difference.
The ergonomic design of the Balance Ball chair ($100, gaiam.com) provides ample back
support while encouraging users to strengthen core muscles—another key in eliminating back
Rent or buy a portable DVD player with a selection of movies and headphones to use when
you're up at all hours of the night or you can't sleep. My family bought me a DVD player
for one holiday, and my favorite episodes of Sex In The City for my birthday!
Lotions & Toiletries
Unscented hand lotion and antibacterial lotion are two things that you can never have
enough of. Lots of medications dry out the skin, so this is great. I also found baby wipes
came in handy for quick freshen ups when I can't hobble out to the bathroom.
If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to come over for the day and do a really
good cleaning on the house. This is a great gift for people who are bedbound or unable to
keep their home cleaned. This will help put their mind at ease, but also it will make
for a cleaner healthier environment.
Cook dinners that are easy to freeze and defrost. When you are sick you are too tired to
cook, so helping to make easy to heat meals is a wonderful treat. Send gift cards to
local restaurants or take out. The worst feeling is to be tired, but also in a financial
pinch due to medical bills. For those
who live alone cooking can be down right impossible. Look into programs like:
These places offer freshly prepared meals delivered right to your door.
If the patient has kids, offer to baby-sit. Even if it is taking the baby out for as
little as one hour, that will be a wonderful gift of an hour of peaceful rest. It will
also put the parents mind at ease to know that their child is getting attention and
activity when they might not be able to.
What could be better for someone who gets the occasional—or even frequent—crushing
Try an eye mask that can be either heated or cooled, such as the Comfort Pak Eye Mask
($30, target.com) or a gel-filled version, such as this mask (massagewarehouse.com, $10).
Send a care package. Get a box and fill it up with goodies. Remember how you felt at
summer camp when you got a surprise package? It was so much fun to rip it open and see
what was inside. Nothing has to be expensive, you can go to the dollar store and get fun
little things. The idea is just to make the patient smile.