While consumerism has its downsides, the access we have today to a plethora of products is certainly beneficial. Advances in science, technology and product development, coupled with increasing social awareness, have led to wellness being a growing niche. For those of us living with chronic pain, the ever-expanding array of brands and tools designed for the purpose of pain relief and management is fantastic.
Sadly, many people, like myself, find that only prescription medications touch their pain in any meaningful way, and only barely at that. If that’s the case for you, such products for purchase might best be seen as tools in your pain management toolbox to help keep you a bit more functional and to make the experience just a little more bearable.
But how do you know what brands to trust and what products to try? This is where user experience and reviews can come in handy. Some of the products here I have tried previously, some I still use, and others I’ve not used but have seen positive reviews for online.
We all have unique needs and everyone will respond differently to most things in life, so you never quite know how you’ll get on with something unless or until you try it. This post just serves to make suggestions for products you may wish to consider for yourself or a loved one to help with managing pain.
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1. CBD Oils, Muscle Rubs & Gummies
The CBD market is quickly booming in recent years. Instead of the standard humdrum oil that tastes pretty nasty, you can now get everything from flavoured oil and muscle rubs, to skincare products and tasty gummies.
Some people find CBD as a supplement benefits their pain directly, while some may find it helps indirectly, such as with anxiety or problematic sleep. It doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re interested in giving it a go then start low and slow and with a quality product.
I’ve previously used and would recommend the following :
Reakiro CBD – I especially love their fantastic warming muscle rub, but they have a range of quality products to browse
Related Reading : Reakiro CBD Review
Orange County CBD – a colourful catalogue of exciting products, including a muscle & joint rub and some delicious gummies
See my full Orange County CBD Review here.
You can get 10% off Orange County CBD using this link with the code CAZHOMER
Another well-reviewed brand :
CBDiablo – I’ve featured a post from CBDiablo previously where the brand’s co-founder wrote about how new users can navigate the chaotic world of CBD. This is a small local brand in the UK full of passion for those they can help with their products.
2. Electric Heat Pad
There are various heat pads on the market at different price points. It’s always worth taking a look through the reviews first to check when they were left, whether they appear genuine, and what exactly people are saying alongside their star rating.
I personally use the Dreamland Intelliheat pad. It measures approx 40x35cm so it’s not massive, but it covers the areas I use it on quite well, whether it’s my upper back/shoulders, hips or tummy. It plugs into the mains so you don’t need to worry about the product degrading in the microwave or going cold after a few minutes. It has six heat settings and you can really feel the heat come through, while the soft touch exterior is soft against your clothing or skin. It comes with a 3 year manufacturer warranty for peace of mind.
I remember another blogger once mentioning the Sweet Dreams heat pad, which also features 6 heat settings but is a little larger at 50x38cm.
This is a fairly classic rub in the UK. I tend to buy Voltarol on Amazon as it’s often a little cheaper. There are different versions in the range, including a specific joint rub, but the Voltarol 3 for Back and Muscle Pain Relief is standard to suit most requirements.
This 1.6% gel offers targeted relief for pain, soothing and easing joints and muscles. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) diclofenac works by reducing inflammation, with Emulgel technology designed to penetrate deeply for effective relief. It blocks the production of some of the chemicals in the body that can cause inflammation, tenderness and pain, so it’s also great for the likes of strains, sprains and bruises. By reducing inflammation, it might also help to keep you a little more mobile.
I’d say this is a good all-rounder. My parents use it for rheumatoid arthritis. I use it on achey joints, including my hands, as well as other areas for nerve damage, knotted muscles and fibromyalgia.
Find Voltarol pain gel here.
4. To Better Days Patches
- Unfortunately these products are no longer available
To Better Days recently released their innovative pain patches, which look rather like very thin plasters without the padding. They make use of the combined effects of vitamin D and Dextrose to provide safer, non-medicinal targeted relief.
I love that these are totally fuss-free and mess-free, making them very convenient. They’re designed to last and be effective on skin for at least 24 hrs, so you can pop them on, forget about them and go about your day.
The patches come in two different sizes so you can choose what would best suit your typical needs. They also sell a trial pack, which is a cost-effective way of trying the product in both sizes to see how you find it and whether it works for you.
Take a look at the To Better Days patches here.
5. Eye Mask Ice Pack
Nothing touches my migraines apart from Sumatriptan, but I always use an icy mask when I can because it makes dealing with them just that little bit less horrendous.
I personally use the Therapearl eye mask. This is a two-in-one product because you can freeze it or put it in the microwave, the latter of which is good for Sjogrens/dry eyes, blocked tear ducts, blepharitis and so on.
The brand did update their eye masks in the last few years to make them stronger on the outer edges but I still don’t think they’re quite as strong as they could be to avoid breaks in the seams. As such, I wouldn’t expect them to last forever and I’d be careful using them in the microwave and only heat them as per instructions.
That aside, I love them. I always have two in the freezer for a bit of a “wash and wear” affair. Migraines don’t wait around for your warmed up ice pack to re-freeze. I couldn’t be without these because ice on your peepers when one feels like it’s going to explode is blissful.
You can find the Therapearl heat/ice eye mask on Amazon.
Related post : 7 Headache & Migraine Helpers
6. Massage Gun
Useful for fitness fans as well as chronic pain sufferers, massage guns are becoming increasingly popular. Percussive therapy can benefit not just muscle and tissue, but your circulation and lymph drainage, too.
I regularly use the Actigun massager, previously gifted for a review on InvisiblyMe.
It’s quick and simple to use, it takes up far less space than typical bulky massagers, and it’s cordless, running on a long-lasting rechargeable battery to give you freedom of movement to use it easily at home or elsewhere.
Related Reading : Actigun Massager Gun Review
7. Acupressure Mat
This is actually something I’m thinking of trying out when I noticed Boots are currently selling a product called the Bed Of Nails. Made from non-toxic plastic “nails”, this product provides the benefits acupressure wherever you need it in the comfort of your own home.
Some people find acupressure to be great for all types of pain, joint issues, sleep, anxiety, circulation, “heavy legs” and so on. From the reviews I’ve browsed, quality does seem to vary quite a bit between brands and they can take some getting used to. With many positive reviews after people have acclimated to their use, acupressure is an interesting alternative to consider adding to your chronic pain management toolbox.
The Bed Of Nails products come in black or pink and can be purchased as a mat, or as a pillow for smaller, more targeted areas. The mat is the larger of the two and is thus more expensive, but it’s probably the option you need if you want to be able to lie on it on your front or back. You can also stand on it for pressure to your feet.
Always check the product information before buying or using such products as it states they shouldn’t be used in instances of haemophilia, skin disease or anticoagulants, and to speak to your doctor if you’re unsure.
What I also like about these is how you don’t really have to do anything. You just lie, sit or stand on it, relax, practice a little mindfulness or meditation if they take your fancy, and let the product do the work. There’s nothing more to it. Simples.
Update – The Bed of Nails brand has kindly offered to collaborate on this, so if you’re interested in finding out what the acupressure mats and pillows are like then I’ll be sharing a review & a discount code in the near future. Watch this space!
Bed of Nails website – Use this link & the code BON15CAZ for 15% off (worldwide shipping)
Other brands do similar products, many of which you can find cheaper elsewhere, though you may get less in the way of quality as a result judging by some that I’ve seen. The better reviewed options include one from Base Yoga and sold on Amazon, which can be purchased as a mat or mat with pillow, available in four different colours.
Another example is the Lixada brand, also being sold on Amazon, which comes as a set with the acupressure mat and pillow along with two spiky massage balls, all for around £22.
8. TENS Machine
There are numerous TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) devices on the market. They work by attaching pads (electrodes) to your skin through which small electrical impulses will be directed. These stimulate particular nerves to reduce pain signals going to the brain and spinal cord, which is hoped to relieve pain, lessen spasms, and relax muscles.
This sort of stimulation can also stimulate endorphin production, the so-called “natural painkiller” of the body.
TENS machines can be used for various types of pain. For instance, neck pain, pelvic pain, sports injuries, knee pain, period pain, and arthritis, among others.
Devices vary in terms of settings and the number of pads included in the set. Examples include:
- The Auvon TENS device comes with different size pads for different body areas and 20 modes, getting a 4.5 star average from over 5,300 ratings.
- The Beurer EM49 TENS device comes with 70 training programmes, 2 channels and 4 electrodes, describing itself as a 3-in-1 product for pain relief, rehabilitation and massage. This gets an average 4.5 star review from over 9,300 ratings.
9. Tiger Balm
Tiger Balm red ointment is a well-known, traditional herbal remedy. Simply rub the balm on the affected area for warming and soothing relief of aches and pains. There’s also a white version for migraines and a black version for shoulders, but it appears that the red is versatile enough for different uses. I know of individuals online with fibromyalgia who regularly use Tiger Balm red, as well as those with migraines and rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s a more natural product, so ingredients include the likes of camphor, clove oil, menthol and cajuput oil.
Take a look at the Tiger Balm red for pain relief.
10. Wedge Support Pillow
I recently reviewed the Byre bed wedge and I found it to be fantastic, not to mention versatile for different uses. If you’re often propped up in bed due to chronic illness or pain, then this will provide more stable support. If you struggle with the likes of indigestion or heartburn, or if you wake with back stiffness and pain after sleeping flat, then sleeping elevated might help. It’s also useful for elevating the feet and legs if you have issues with restless leg, lymph drainage or circulation.
If you’re in the UK, you can find the Byre bed wedge support pillow on Amazon here.
If you’re in the US or elsewhere in the world, you might be able to find similar products online. Make sure to check the measurements and reviews, and the way in which you can alter the product’s format/shape to ensure it suits your requirements.
Related Reading : Byre folding bed wedge support pillow review
11. Knee Pillow
You’ll find a lot of different brands offering similar knee pillows online which vary in shape and whether they feature a leg strap. You’ll also find cheap “deals” sites offering what look like pricier branded Legacy Contour pillows, which actually aren’t those pillows at all, so be careful where you buy from.
While not a standard knee pillow, I really like the mini Tempur memory foam travel pillow for use sleeping when you’re out and about (in my case, in the hospital), for your lower back on a chair or sofa, or for between your knees when sleeping or resting on your side. It’s expensive but mine has been going for years now and gets ample use due to its versatility. When using this for my back, I have a separate knee pillow that I use. Some people find two pillows preferable to keep space between the thighs and the ankles, but it’s a personal choice.
The Amazon Basics knee pillow is a surprisingly good quality cheaper option if you want a firmer and slightly larger knee pillow.
I currently use the Contour Legacy Leg pillow. It brought tears to my eyes paying for this recently at the £20 mark, but I’ve found a knee pillow to be essential for nerve damage that brings intense pain to my hips.
Such a product may be a good investment if it’s even slightly beneficial. If you’re unsure whether a knee pillow is right for you, you could test out a regular cushion between your thighs/knees to give you a basic idea. Just keep in mind that a purpose-made knee pillow will be deeper, firmer and more likely to stay in place and help your body’s alignment.
12. Copper Compression Gloves
Compression gloves are often marketed at those with achy joints, such as from rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. Copper-infused gloves add another dimension of benefit thanks to anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
I currently use Copper Clothing’s compression gloves, and my dad uses the fingerless gloves, which were previously gifted for review on InvisiblyMe. What I especially like about these is that they’re silky soft with gentle grips on the fingers and palm, making them more versatile for whatever I’m doing.
I particularly get issues with typing, which I do a lot of, so it’s great to have something non-invasive to help make things a little more comfortable.
Copper Clothing’s compression gloves are great quality and a good choice if you want to try out such gloves to see whether they can be helpful for your sore joints and achy hands.
You’ll also find a range of compression gloves on Amazon.
Related Reading : Copper Clothing Review
This is only a small selection of product suggestions. It’s always good to hear what others have found and share the recommendations around – Have you tried any of these, or do you have something you use for pain relief/management that you would add to the list?