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Useful products for parents with chronic pain
Being a parent with chronic pain can present a whole new set of challenges to pain management. We bend over more, we sit more, we carry an increasingly heavy child around, we spend time on the floor, etc. A lot of stuff we would absolutely avoid doing sans children.
Given the chance, I will still avoid doing all of that the best I can, even with a child. Not always possible though, especially the time on the floor part. Thankfully, I’ve found several products that have really helped in managing my pain as a new parent. The last thing any new parent needs is pain, especially more pain, slowing them down. So, every little bit of relief or conservation of energy can make a big difference at the end of the day.
I did a lot of research while I was pregnant, mostly on ways that I could save my bad arm and shoulder from carrying a baby everywhere. I quickly found out that baby wraps could be a good option. Eventually, I decided on the Boba Wrap, the reviews were great and the price was reasonable. Now that I’ve been able to use it, I made the right call.
I knew I couldn’t use a standard baby carrier because backpack straps hurt like hell. Baby wraps though, not so much. Being able to spread the fabric over my shoulders however I need saves a lot of stress and distributes my daughter’s weight pretty well. It took some practice to get it wrapped around myself and get my daughter in it properly, but it wasn’t too bad.
When she was a newborn, I was able to clean the bathrooms while wearing her and only had to place my hands on her a few times out of paranoia. Since babies tend to gain weight rather quickly, I had a hard time carrying her just as quickly. The Boba Wrap helps immensely and my husband loves using it too since it’s completely adjustable to any size. There are other benefits to baby wearing beyond pain management as well. I won’t discuss them here, but check out that link if you want to know more.
Right after my daughter was born I messed up my knee pretty badly. I have no idea what happened, but I could put very little weight on it without pain. Now throw in a newborn and a two story house.
I didn’t have the time to get it sorted out with a doctor so my husband (who used to do stem cell research for rheumatoid arthritis so knows a bit about knees) suggested I try a knee sleeve. I did some quick checking on Amazon and found one worth trying. Or two really, since it’s a pack of two.
It helped immediately. I wore one all day, everyday for a while and usually forgot I had it on. If I didn’t wear it though, man did I ever notice. The compression was just right and reduced my pain significantly. This was incredibly important as I was climbing stairs many times each day and spending a lot of time on the floor.
I’m assuming that’s what started the problem in the first place. It’s hard to adjust to the ways of a baby as it is without dealing with chronic pain. The amount of time you spend in weird positions as a parent is something I thought I was prepared for but as my knee found out, I was wrong. It’s mostly better now, but I still wear a sleeve on twingey days and I’m good to go.
This was more important during pregnancy, as I had carpal tunnel symptoms about 5 months in. I was still working so I spent my days in front of a computer. I was also trying to knit baby stuff. Plus, my wrists aren’t really 100% anyway.
Pregnancy made my wrists hurt so much, it was incredibly difficult to get anything done. It was greatly impacting my work so I needed something fast. Wrist wraps were definitely the answer.
My wrists were still sore by the end of the day, but I could at least make it through a workday without needing a long break just for my wrists. I wore the wraps pretty much all day, taking them off when I wasn’t in front of my computer.
I love that the wraps are completely adjustable. Some days I needed them tight, some days not so much. Extremely easy to control the compression this way and I would certainly recommend them to anyone with wrist pain, especially during pregnancy.
CeraVe has been a huge help since my daughter was born. I have eczema so I was already using it, but a baby can really interfere with management.
My hands are the worst spot for eczema, especially the knuckles. I’m prone to cracking and bleeding so I try to stay on top of it. I wash my hands sooooo much now, it’s hell to my skin if I don’t moisturize as much as possible.
Of course, we use cloth diapers, so my hands are always in water and wringing out pee. Not ideal for bad skin. CeraVe is my only saviour. Because you know what chronic pain doesn’t need? Cracked and painful hands!
It absorbs really quickly so I’m not greasy all the time. Plus, ceramides and hyaluronic acid get the job done for moisture. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it’s safe for the face as well. I will totally rub any excess on my face if I haven’t done my skincare routine.
As someone with chronic pain, I look for shortcuts. I’m a firm believer in working smarter, not harder. The Instant Pot is basically the embodiment of this philosophy.
It’s actually become an essential parenting product. We make our own baby food and I did not want to be spending an inordinate amount of time peeling, chopping, steaming and smooshing fruits and vegetables. Wielding a knife wears my arm out quickly. I still peel stuff, but I can chop things into bigger chunks, throw it into a steamer basket and turn on the Instant Pot.
It saves me so much time and energy. It’s a set it and forget it situation too. It takes a bit of time to pressurize, but then it’s about 15 minutes until perfectly mushy baby food is done. I don’t even need to use the immersion blender that we have, I can do a quick mash with a fork and get my Baby Cubes filled.
Another bonus? You can make pretty much anything in an Instant Pot. Dinner, dessert, yogurt, done! Conserve spoons and dishes!
I’ll say this again, I spend too much time on the floor now. I originally wanted foam mats so that my daughter’s activity mat had more padding on our very hard floor. As soon as the mats were laid out though, I was so thankful for them.
I can spend more time on the floor with my daughter because of the mats. Just that little bit of padding makes a big difference on my knees and tailbone. I’m not about to spend the day on them and be fine, but 30 minutes or so and I’m not in nearly as much pain as I was without them.
Plus, safer for baby and blah, blah, blah.
You know what else sucks? Having long hair, chronic headaches, migraines, allodynia and a baby. I’ve always hated putting my hair up. A lot of options are painful in the long run and cause a sore scalp along with a headache.
Having to raise my arms to adjust a ponytail all day sucks too. A grabby baby makes it really hard to leave my hair down though. I’m not really up for chopping it off yet either.
But then I found spin pins, specfically mini spin pins since I have really fine hair. I can do a bun, throw a few pins in and leave my hair alone all day. I don’t have an elastic pulling on my hair and scalp this way. The hold is so good, I never have to readjust either. I can give my shoulder, neck, scalp and headaches a bit of a break with spin pins. And no more handfuls of hair for my daughter!
New parents and chronic pain patients can often go without eating a proper meal for a while. Combine the two together and it gets tricky. Being tired and hungry are not good things to throw on top of the pain pile. I have certainly found that keeping granola bars and protein bars on hand can really help keep you going.
Pure Protein bars come in a ton of flavours and are gluten free. My husband has Celiac Disease so imagine how psyched he was to be able to have something that tastes like birthday cake. I personally like having Nature Valley Sweet and Salty bars, but they aren’t as high in protein. Gotta keep that little bit of strength up with a baby around!
What products do you use as a parent to manage your pain? Let me know in the comments below, I’m always up for more suggestions!
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