Pamper Yourself This Year with These “Me” Gifts

PPM’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide for Easing Chronic Pain Symptoms

If you live with constant pain, running errands can seem like a major hurdle—even when it’s not the holiday season. Give yourself a little extra relief this year by putting yourself at the top of your to-do list. Below, our 2019 Editor’s Picks for boosting your mood, mind, and body.

#1: Sign up for an Online Art Therapy Course

(Image: iStockPhoto)Creating can distract you from pain and channel a new hobby.

Unleash your inner Picasso by registering up for an online art therapy course! This highly regarded form of mental health therapy can now be enjoyed from any location—including your home. Facilitated by a professional art therapist, the course aims to ease pain and related anxiety or depression by bolstering self-esteem and reducing stress. Many certified art therapists offer sessions via Skype or through pre-recorded instruction. You never know, you may find that you love what you've created, so don’t be afraid to gift your final masterpiece or show it off at home! (See how pain management advocate Jenni Grover, aka ChronicBabe, is using creativity to manage her pain.)

Downloadable Online Courses

Art therapist locator (contact for remote options)

Price varies by course.

#2: Get Cozy with Good Reads while Lounging with a Laptop Pillow

Image courtesy mfrA laptop lounger and a good book may be all you need to settle in for the night.

There is no better place to curl up than in the comfort of your own couch or bed. Grab a hot beverage and enjoy using your journal, tablet, or favorite card game on this ergonomic, space saving, convenient laptop desk. The portable design from Sofia + Sam comes in three colors, with a built-in slide out mouse pad, and slots for positioning your tablet or phone. The memory foam cushion and wrist rest is suitable for left or right-hand use, and even has an attached USB reading light.

And once you’re comfortable, consider pulling out one of these titles on self-managing your pain, recommended by Jaime Meyer-Junco, PharmD, who works with geriatric and oncology pain patients:

  • Living Beyond Your Pain: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Ease Chronic Pain, by JoAnne Dahl and Tobias Lundgren
  • Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain, Second Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide Second Edition, by Beverly E Thorn
  • Managing Pain Before it Manages You, by Margaret Caudill
  • Bouncing Back: Skills for Adaption to Injury, Aging, Illness and Pain, by Richard Wanlass
  • Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain, by MD Lefort

All are available at your local bookstore or shop for them online. Prices vary.

Sofia + Sam Laptop Desk 

Price: $49.99

#3: Relax and Get Better Sleep with Customized Essential Oils

(Image: iStockPhoto)The right mixture of essential oils can soothe inflammation, reduce headache, and ease sleep.

Therapeutic-grade essential oils have become more popular among those seeking relaxation, pain relief, and overall wellness. Cinnamon leaf, clove bud, frankincense, cedarwood, fir needle, wintergreen, and lemon grass oils are some extracts commonly used for their pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be used in diffusers, topically, and, in some cases, ingested. Several websites offer customized blends to suit your needs and scent preferences, and even offer accessories like diffusers and sleep masks. Consult with your doctor before using essential oils, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medication.

Good Fortune Soap and Spa$21 for a 1 oz. custom bottle

JennScents Holistic AromatherapyPrices start at $35 for a 5ml custom bottle

#4: Give Your Feet a Break with an At-Home Massager

Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager (Image courtesy of Miko)

Nothing beats a great foot massage no matter where your pain points are, so why not treat yourself to one of the highest rated products on the market. The Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager uses heat and acupressure rollers to simulate the work of a professional. Slip your tired feet into two separate chambers to relieve pain stemming from plantar fasciitis, muscle tension, or diabetic foot pain. The cloth covers are washable, and it comes with two remotes, making it easy to change programs and settings without bending down. An auto shut-off feature is a plus, in the likely event that you drift off to sleep.

Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager 

Price: $134.95

#5: Splurge on a TENS unit for Wearable Migraine and Pain Relief

Cefaly and other TENS units are known to prevent and reduce migraine.

The FDA has approved several transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices for the prevention of migraine. There are many variations of this nifty product, some of which can be connected to smartphones or controlled remotely. Cefaly was the first such unit on the market, and focuses on stimulating the trigeminal nerve, believed to aid in preventing migraine pain. Less expensive options are available as well, and different types of TENS units target knee and hip arthritic pain, sciatica pain, and more. For instance, the iRelieve TENS and EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) Combination Muscle Stimulator offers 14 massage modes and 25 intensity settings, as well as the ability to stimulate muscles and prevent atrophy. The AccuMed AP212 Portable TENS Unit features 16 massage modes, capable of producing a powerful massage in a slim, lightweight design. Wireless options, like the Avail Wireless Dual Channel TENS Unit allow you to control settings for relief in multiple areas of the body from an iOS or Android app. Some devices require a prescription, so be sure to check with your doctor first and do your research on available products (a few ideas are below). See also, Am I Candidate for TENS Therapy?


iRelieve TENS and EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator

AccuMed AP212 Portable TENS Unit

Avail Wireless Dual Channel TENS Unit

Need more to indulge in?

There are plenty of ways to continually brighten a mood, such as with a subscription service like fresh flowers from Bouqs, beauty products from MINTD, or mens’ accessories from Gentleman’s Box. Deals are plentiful this time of year, so why not upgrade your robe and cozy slippers, warm gloves and scarves, or bath and hand lotions? While the holidays are all about giving, make sure you take time for yourself!

Additional ideas from our 2018 gift guide.

Updated on: 11/25/19
Continue Reading:
New and Unique Gift Ideas for Loved Ones with Chronic Pain