Monday, January 24, 2011

Some of my Favorite Things

Saturday hubby and I went out for a date to celebrate my birthday.  We live about 25 minutes away from good shopping and restaurants and because of my pain we rarely get out on a date or to do any real shopping. So we of course over did it.  Several hours of standing and walking around have my feet very flared up (and they had been doing so well for a couple months!). My sacrum is hurting pretty bad as well.  This flare up got me thinking about all the "pain management" tools I've learned this past year and I thought I would share some of them with those of you who share my struggle with chronic pain.

Since I can't afford a deep tissue massage everyday this book has been a lifesaver for me.  My husband is so great because he even tries to read about how to massage my painful trigger points.  This book is so interesting to me because trigger points can refer pain to all different areas of the body.  For example, the pain in my feet may be caused by trigger points in my calves.  
This contraption is known as a Theracane and is a great accompaniment to the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook.  This device allows me to massage my own trigger points and apply the exact amount of pressure I need (which is usually a lot). It is really helpful in my lower back and shoulders as I need to massage several times a day to these areas sometimes, and well hubby does have another full time job :) I have found using a handweight and rolling the arch of my foot back and forth over it helps with  pain in my feet. It stretches out the fascia in the feet and makes a nice "crunchy" noise if they are tight.
These are FitFlop Clogs and are they are biomechanically engineered shoes to absorb more shock and reduce joint and foot pressure. They are also supposed to work out your calf and butt muscles while you walk. Before buying them I had been wearing my tennis shoes around the house all day and my feet would just throb and burn after standing for 30 minutes.  Since wearing these clogs as "house shoes" I haven't had hardly any foot pain and I spend a lot of my day on my feet as I can't sit.  (I can't however wear them all day out shopping, like I tried on Saturday). If I have to stand for long periods of time I wear danskos.  I have custom orthotics, but they don't help me hardly at all. 
My feet get really cold and burn. I don't know if the burning is because of the pudendal neuralgia or something called raynauds which is sometimes a symptom in chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia.  This winter I've been wearing smartwool socks and I can tell a huge difference. (I technically don't know if it's the smartwool or my increasing dose of Neurontin, but I do think the smartwool helps a good deal).  I have gotten rid of all my non-smartwool socks.  They are expensive, but worth it in my book.

Being a former athlete growing up and runner in my more recent days. I can't stand not to be active. I miss exercising so much. I haven't been able to keep my pain flares down enough to really get back into consistent exercise unfortuantely (even walking).  I had never done yoga before, but so many people have recommended it to me.  I found this dvd on Amazon and it focuses on the low back, sacrum, and hips.  While I can't do all the poses due to my pain I have found it to be pretty good for me. It's boring and geared toward those with back pain issues, but at least it helps me feel like I'm doing something.
I use one of these rice filled wraps warmed up in the microwave to provide moist heat almost daily. I mostly use it for my neck/shoulders, but sometimes I will use it on my low back and even my feet.  Everybody needs one of can even make them yourself!
I have used my fare share of ice packs, but Mueller brand has been my favorite so far. I sit on these packs a lot and they are really comfortable since they are moldable. They stay cold for a long time as well. I have two so one is always ready on hand. I took it with me when I went out shopping Saturday, but I should have brought my other one in a small cooler so I could have switched out packs. I have the 6x9 ice pack, but I think they make a smaller one which might be good for the perineal area.
This thing is great. It's a wrap for the Mueller ice pack. It stretches enough to go around my sacral area so I can strap it on and be up doing things if I need to. 
Well, there's my list so far.  I'd love to hear any reccomendations you all might have for non-medicinal pain management tools.


  1. I love the rice heat packs! I also take a hot bath and drink chamomile tea every night. It's part of my pain management routine. I don't have a theracane, but I use a foam roller and a tennis ball for trigger points. For ice, I do use a standard ice pack, but a PT suggested ice massage for the perineum. I fill Dixie cups with water and freeze them. Then you can peel back the cup as you massage and the ice melts.