Patient Blogs | Ankylosing Spondylitis
My Favorite Gadgets, Apps, and Hacks for Managing Pain
photo of woman stretching neck by laptop

Today is your lucky day, my friend. I'm channeling my inner Oprah to share some of my favorite gadgets, apps, and hacks for chronic pain management.

Let's be real for a moment. We all need the help we can get with managing the pain monster, right? Particularly on those days when it feels like the pain is winning. So whether you're looking for a little distraction or some serious pain relief, check out my toolkit below.

Using at least one of the gadgets listed below can help relieve pain in a number of ways. Some work by providing distraction from the pain, others by stimulating nerve endings to block pain signals from reaching the brain, and still others by helping to release feel-good chemicals like endorphins.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite gadgets for coping with chronic pain:

A foam roller. If you're able to get down on the floor, consider using a foam roller. I have an orange roller in my den that I pull out to help ease any tension in my upper back. It's also great for self-massage. One of the reasons why I like using a foam roller is that I can control the amount of pressure I apply to my muscles.

If you don't have a foam roller, a tennis ball can also work wonders. Just place the tennis ball under the muscle groups that are giving you trouble and roll around on it until the tension is released.

A diffuser with essential oils. Chronic pain can take a toll on your mental health, so it's important to find ways to relax and de-stress. For me, using essential oils is one of the best ways to do this. You can use lavender oil in a diffuser before bedtime to help you relax before you hit the sheets.

During the day, I burn lavender incense or lavender candles when I'm writing and working. Doing so calms my mind and eases any neck tension I may get from staring at the computer screen for too long (in case you didn't notice, I LOVE the scent of lavender).

An ergonomic office chair. If you work at a desk all day, an ergonomic office chair is a must. This type of chair helps to reduce back pain and improve your posture. Very beneficial for pain sufferers.

I sit on an ergonomic chair in my home office, and it has made a world of difference. Not only is it more comfortable to sit in, but I find that I don't get as much back pain at the end of the day.

Now, did you know that there are some very good apps you can download to manage your pain? Here are my favorites:

Shine. I love this app. It helps me stay relaxed and calm, especially if I'm feeling stiffness in my knees or upper neck. Some of its features include guided meditation tracks that de-stress the mind and body. One of the voices on the meditation tracks is so soothing and relaxing, I could listen to her all day.

There are also articles on pain management, relaxation techniques, and healthy lifestyle tips. I particularly enjoy the daily notification reminders that pop up my iPhone that help to keep my energy and mental spirits high. So lovely.

Bearable. This app is designed to help you track things, such as your pain levels, sleep, and medications. You can even download a weekly report to send to your doctor. Very cool. (I recommend this app to my coaching clients, and they love it!).

If using a foam roller or a diffuser isn't your jam, don't fret. Here a couple of very simple hacks you can use ASAP:

Take breaks often. When you're in pain, it's easy to become overwhelmed and want to just stay in bed all day. But this isn't good for your body or your mind.

Make a point to get up and move around every few hours, even if it's just a short walk around the house. This will help keep your muscles and joints from stiffening up.

Stretch it out. Stretching can help reduce pain by loosening up tight muscles. Try doing some simple stretches every day, or invest in a yoga or Pilates class specifically designed for people with chronic pain.

Did you find something on this list that can help you? Managing chronic pain can seem daunting, but with the right tools, it's totally doable.





Photo Credit: Grace Cary / Moment via Getty Images

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Lovaine Cohen

Lovaine Cohen

Diagnosed since 2001

Lovaine Cohen has lived with ankylosing spondylitis for over 20 years. A chronic pain coach, Lovaine helps women reduce pain with her Holistic Healing Method program and shares pain management and anxiety tips on her blog and on Instagram. Her loves include her two children in their early 20s, a rescue husky named Stella, and her husband of 28 years. Connect with Lovaine on Instagram.

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