My 4 favorite self-help tools for pain
These products are for education purposes only and contain affiliate links. The reader accepts full responsibility for the use of these products. Thank you to Abbe Brown at the ST Recovery Clinic for first introducing me to these products www.stclinic.com.
Ever since I developed dystonia in 2001, I have tried what seems like every self-help tool for pain and muscle spasms known to man. Some make my symptoms worse, some don’t help at all, some only help for a short time, and then there are those that have always helped in a significant way. In this blog, I am going to share my favorite things that have been consistently helpful. This is not to say you will have the same benefit, so please find what helps you best. It might take some trial and error. You might recall another article I wrote that shared a long list of self-help tools. Click here to check it out. This particular blog focuses on the 4 things that help me most that I use every day.
My favorite tool by far is the shepherd’s crook. Similar products are called Thera Cane and Back Buddy. The shepherd’s crook is a long, curved, metal, rubber, or heavy plastic hook with rubber on both ends designed for working on hard to reach trigger points. The metal shepherd’s crook can be purchased from Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy. It is very sturdy, which I love.
The Thera Cane and Back Buddy can be found at eBay and Amazon and have a little more bend/give, which is also desireable to me. The Thera Cane I like comes in two pieces (there are some that are in one piece like in the photo below) which I find super convenient for travelling. The shepherd’s crook/Thera Cane is my favorite tool because it helps to reduce my tight back and shoulder muscles, and effectively work on painful trigger points. It also helps with my balance. To see more about how it works, please see my video.
The first thing I ever purchased after developing dystonia is called a NeckEase. It is a hot/cold aromatherapy pack made by BodySense that sits on your shoulders and around your neck (see below). Since it doesn’t get cold enough for my taste, I prefer using ice packs for cold and the NeckEase strictly for heat. Just throw it in the microwave for a few minutes and you are set for at least an hour. I then began using their Trap Pack so I could heat up my entire back (see below). I like their products because they provide moist, penetrating heat with the added benefit of aromatherapy. Check out their entire product line. They make something for practically every part of the body.
I use them before I do my stretching, get a massage, when I am extra tight and/or sore, and when I have spasms due to cold weather. I am often tight when I first get up in the morning, so I use them to loosen up. Some people make their own packs filled with rice and/or different herbs/spices. That is another option if you have sewing skills. Find whatever works best for you. For more heat options, please see my other blog on self-help tools.
Another product I have been using for years is a massage machine called Kneading Fingers. It has two rotating balls designed to duplicate the firm kneading action of a massage therapist. I use it on my neck and back, either sitting in a firm chair or standing with it between me and the wall. Check out the link above, but typically you can find the best prices for this item on Amazon and eBay. I usually use it for about 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening, but I will use it longer and more often if I am especially tight and in pain.
My final favorite tool I want to share is called an Obusforme, which I think everyone should have If you want to sit in good posture, the Obusforme is the way to go in my opinion. It transforms ordinary chairs into ergonomically correct seating and puts your spine into a more anatomically correct position to enhance overall posture by supporting proper spinal alignment. There are a variety of styles from which to choose and it is portable, making it easy to use it at home, office, car, sporting events, etc. Poor posture is one of the leading causes of neck and back pain, and for those of us who already have neck and back pain, posture is CRITICAL. Whether it be the Obusforme or something else you like, please be very mindful of your posture. It can make a significant difference in your symptoms.
There are many other tools I use to help me manage my symptoms, but these are my top 4 favorites I use every day. I hope you also find them to be of help. For more tools to help neck pain, back pain, and muscle spasms, please click here to see my other article.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.