Chronic illness means being vigilant about pain. Learning to recognise triggers for migraine, subluxation and the many other comorbidities that accompany hEDS can help make it more manageable. In the five years since I was diagnosed, I’ve put together a self care kit that helps me loads so I thought I’d share it. Everyone is different but working out things that suit you may help manage pain, if not remove it.
My kit contains:
- Wheat packs to heat in the microwave. The unicorn shaped one is ace for my neck.
- Hot water bottles – normal size and an amazing torso sized Yuyu bottle.
- Stick on heat pads for back pain.
- Ice packs for migraine/subluxations.
- Aromatherapy/healing oil. It soothes my muscles and rosemary/peppermint oil sometimes soothe migraine.
- Tennis ball in sock for self-massage.
- Painkillers and vitamins.
- Nuts/snack bars/fruit/smoothies for when I’m stuck in bed.
- Colouring books and pens for distraction.
- Notepad and pen for managing racing thoughts/ anxiety/ journalling/art.
- Books, magazines and children’s books for brain fog days.
- Thermometer to check illness isn’t too serious.
- Crafting kits that can be done in bed on a tray (I use a clean pizza box).
For going out, I add orthotics, ankle braces, joint supports, a neck pillow and, if I’m walking far, a stick (with a lovely William Morris design so I feel less self-conscious with it). I wear many layers to manage temperature deregulation (another pain side effect) and two or three pairs of Black Milk leggings (bought on eBay as they’re pricey new but wonderfully stretchy and supportive, in fun patterns) to stop my hip clicking out of place.
It takes effort and sometimes, nesting is the only option. But the right self-care kit can make life more comfortable. What helps you?