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Gifts for pained people

Four lists for gift-givers to folx with chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, back pain, and other pain.

Gifts for less-mobile people

Gifts specifically about pain

Free/cheap gifts

Gifts to think twice before giving

I’m not doing links – I’m not getting any kickbacks for any of these. Not even the brands I endorse directly. But if you have questions, I’ll answer them.

Gifts for people who cannot move around as much as they would like.

  1. indoor/outdoor thermometer with humidity reader – so you can tell what the weather outside is like even if you are not able to get there
  2. soft throw pillow – for nesting – ones that can be bent into multiple shapes are especially good
  3. gift cards to a streaming movie service
  4. gift cards to a streaming music service
  5. warm, soft socks – This might just be the #1 gift for people over 40.
  6. bird feeder (with installation) outside the most used window – maybe one of those that mounts directly on the window
  7. nice hand lotion – I’ll endorse Hempz, but there are many good brands. Check for one that is unscented or only slightly scented.
  8. lip balm – I’ll endorse TonyMoly’s Liptone as my current fave.
  9. hydrosol or facial spray – helps feel clean when you cannot get to wash
  10. magazine subscriptions – I can often read magazines when I cannot focus on books
  11. Pashmina scarf – the real ones are super soft and double as blankets
  12. gift cards to a food delivery service
  13. fancy or pretty canes – something that matches the personality of the recipient
  14. leggings or joggers – but get something fancy, we’re often in the same clothes for a long time and want something that helps us feel nice
  15. sunlight lamps for the winter
  16. essential oil diffuser – frankincense, ginger, and rose are good for pain, bergamot and lemongrass are also mood lifters, lavender and chamomile also help with rest
  17. a houseplant
  18. speakers for computer or TV
  19. visits from a cleaning service
  20. laptop pillow – to comfortably hold computer – maybe with a cup holder

Gifts that help specifically with pain

  1. Arthritis gloves (IMAK brand)
  2. Turmeric tea – curcumin helps calm pain
  3. IMAK also makes a great compression mask to cover your eyes when headaches hit.
  4. Ted’s Pain Cream
  5. topical CBD products
  6. Biofreeze or another lotion/gel/spray painkiller
  7. Theracane – a device for self massage on tough-to-reach spots
  8. heating pads – especially that one that wraps around neck and shoulders and is filled with lavender that smells good – also the large heating pads
  9. essential oil roller sticks – lavender, rosemary, or ones labelled for pain, headaches, or sleep (Often we are on so many traditional painkillers that we cannot take a Tylenol for a headache – something like this helps.)
  10. support pillows for in the car
  11. TENS patches or sets – sends electronic charges to relieve pain
  12. Calm, Buddify, Headspace – or other meditation apps
  13. infrared heat therapy devices
  14. acupressure therapy mats
  15. pain management apps – like Curable

Gifts that cost little or nothing

  1. Make a list of fun websites you think they will enjoy.
  2. Make a list of movies, songs, etc. that they might want to check out.
  3. Hand over the last book you read and really loved.
  4. Teach lessons on how to do a craft you like knitting, whittling, or paper cutting.
  5. Design coupons for days to come over and make dinner (or meal delivery from your kitchen).
  6. Give a massage – if its a person to whom this offer won’t be creepy.
  7. Kids art is always fun. Adult art can be amazing as well.
  8. Offer to go shopping for them.
  9. Ask them if there is a task they need an extra hand with – cleaning the gutters, clearing old garden beds, taking things in and out of the attic.

Check before you give these gifts

  1. candles – some people dislike certain scents
  2. strongly scented lotion / body spray – same as above, but more so
  3. mugs – who doesn’t already have enough mugs? your friend? then give one
  4. food / candy – many pain folks are on restricted diets, make sure any gift fits with those diets
  5. books about their condition – some folks will love these, others will think you are trying to communicate a message to them about their illness – in a bad way
  6. exercise equipment – make sure it’s wanted and usable by the person to whom you are giving it

By Johanna

Writer, reader, person living with a disability, cat-mom, learner, mystic. J.D./Ph.D. from Ohio State. Can be found writing a speculative fiction novel, or about women's soccer and life with chronic pain.

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