Gifts that Bring Comfort to Loved Ones in Pain

While Santa seems to have his gift-giving down to a science—with time left over to check his naughty and nice lists twice—many of us find the task downright daunting. That may be especially true when shopping for a friend or family member living with chronic pain. But don’t break a sweat just yet. We’ve done the legwork for you and like good little elves, are here to make your lives easier. Here are 11 great gift ideas.

From our readers, we learned that the most appreciated gifts are those that convey the giver’s understanding of their illness or pain and—most importantly—make them feel loved and supported. Keeping that in mind, we put together this gift guide. In it you’ll find ideas for gifts soothing, practical, helpful, humorous or just plain fun.

#1. Night Moves

Watching her younger sister’s distress when dealing with the night sweats and hot flashes that often accompanied her cancer treatment inspired Lara Little to design a line of stylish sleepwear that also helps alleviate the side effects that plagued her sister. Made of cotton, polyester, spandex and a proprietary fabric that wicks perspiration away from the body, Lusomé sleepwear reduces the uncomfortable dampness and night sweats of chemotherapy, thyroid conditions, and menopause and in those coping with chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis that affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Available for men and women. Price: from $48 for men; from $58 for women.  

#2. Properly Propped

Having achy and swollen hands from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes and a laundry list of other conditions can make holding an iPAD, tablet, Kindle, or similar device difficult if not impossible. The solution? Go hands-free. Weighing in at only 8 ounces, the iBeani, a cheery little bean bag stand cradles a multitude of devices including iPADs, tablets and smartphones. Price: from $25

#3. Posture Perfect

Core strength and good posture go a long way to helping relieve lower back pain. While fitness balls, those giant inflatable alternatives to office chairs are acceptable in some offices, most of us aren’t all that comfortable with the optics. Recommended by the London Spine Clinic, the inflatable back Posture Cushion fits most any chair. It’s an unobtrusive dupe for a fitness ball that “encourages active sitting and helps improve balance and core stability.” If your loved one has back woes, this 13.5 inch-wide cushion can improve posture and build up core stability. Price: $44.99

#4. Pin Ups!  

Ten years of living with fibromyalgia hasn’t put a dent in Jo Roberts’s wit or sense of humor. Roberts, the owner of Eitanya Designs, created the Fibromyalgia humor collection of message pins that both poke fun and make a point. For example: Bad flare day, approach with caution; I’m in PAIN. What's your excuse? The fibromyalgia humor collection comes with six pinback buttons. Put them on your overcoat, your backpack, your handbag or decorate a plain sweatshirt with all 6! Price: $5.00

#5. Pretty Informative 

Like a fairy godmother, Lauren’s Hope , a line of fashionable, interchangeable medical ID bracelets transforms those unattractive but necessary medical ID bracelets into stylish adornments. The line was named after a teenager with diabetes who refused to wear her medical ID bracelet because it was “ugly and draws attention to my illness.”

Launched in 2001, Lauren’s Hope got an early shout-out from actress Halle Berry, a diabetic, who praised the chic alternatives to medical IDs. No surprise that the company named a 22-karat, gold-leafed multi strand chalcedony stone bracelet and named for the actress (see image, left) Along with bracelets, Lauren’s Hope has necklaces, anklets, charms, bag tags, and more. Price: $10.00 and up

#6. It's a (Body) Wrap

With chronic pain ordinary tasks can be exhausting. By day’s end, a soak in a tub can be just what the doctor ordered. After your bath, wrap up in a Plush Necessities robe. Just like the robes favored by fancy spas, the medium-weight Luxe Robe has two layers (outside brushed microfiber twill fabric and inside terry cloth). For allodynia sufferers and those whose skin is very sensitive to weight, the Plush Signature Robe was designed to be extremely light (just 2 lbs) but exceptionally warm. The Pure Bliss Terry Robe is the heaviest. The company does not believe in "one size fits all," so there are seven different sizes to choose from—XS to XXL.  Price: from $85 and up

#7. Nail It

The wellbeing of many patients suffering from chronic illnesses can be jeopardized by exposure to chemicals like formaldehyde, parabens and phthalates. Chemical sensitivity can sometime cause pain flare-ups for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. But reducing exposure to chemicals doesn’t mean having to miss out on small indulgences, like a manicure. Available in a multitude of colors, Priti NYC’s toxic-free nail polishes are free of phthalates, formaldehyde, camphor and parabens. The Soy Nail Polish Remover comes in an unscented version that’s equally non-toxic.  Price: from $15 for nail polish; remover from $10

#8. Go Fish! 

There’s something delightfully, well, fishy, about Fishbellies. These whimsical 100% cotton-covered, corn-stuffed microwaveable and freezable hot and cold packs are wonderful for soothing general  aches and pains, plus they come in three sizes. Wrap the 29-inch one around your neck or lower back. The 12-inch long Guppies make a perfect stocking stuffer. Price: from $30.

#9. Let It Go!

There are days when we all need to release tension and frustration. And pain sufferers probably have more than their share.  Dealing with the pain not to mention the insurance company is enough to crush even the most positive spirits now and then. But when a punching bag isn’t available (or you’re too fatigued or pained to hit one) and there’s no dedicated, soundproof place to scream it out, try taking it out on a Dammit Doll. Unlike you, these adorable dolls feel no pain. So hug one or hurl it across the room, pinch it or pull its hair and then take a deep breath. Ahhhhhh, that’s better! Price: from $15.87

#10. Stay Brave

In 2012, less than a year after her mother’s diagnosis and successful treatment for breast cancer, Stephanie Hansen launched Bravelets, a collection of cause-related jewelry for men and women. Be Brave, the powerful mantra that kept Stephanie and her family going throughout the hard times is etched into every piece.  For every item purchased 10% is donated to the associated cause with over $2.5 million donated so far. Price from $35.00

#11. Soak Away the Pain

Coast Guard veteran Leslie Scott, owner of Waltonwood Farm, isn’t a nurse but she’ll vouch for the benefits of Nurse's Rescue and Whoop Ass Athlete’s soak. Both blend Epsom bath salt (magnesium sulfate) and essential oils such as peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus leaf oil, lavender, anise and ginger to refresh, revive and soothe achy muscles. While scientific proof of the efficacy of Epsom salts to relieve pain is minimal, it’s been used as a home remedy for pain since the dark ages (just ask Grandma). And, anecdotally we hear that the magnesium benefits those with Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and migraines, too. Waltonwood’s collection for men and women is full of fun creams, lotions and potions. A couple of favorites: Winter’s A B*tch cream that promises to thaw you out and Hell Bath for those nights when you’re not feeling heavenly. Price: from $18

Updated on: 12/02/16