Living with a chronic illness can go from bad to worse in a matter of minutes, however it helps to have some tips and tricks to help make life a little easier.
So below I am going to go through some of my most used products, tips and tricks that might help you on a bad day.
This is essentially a cooling pillow it helps with a restful nights sleep if you tend to be two warm at night. It is also very soothing for a Chiari headache especially if you are unable to sleep. You can buy them online for between 15-30 euro.
However I got mine in Tesco in Nutgrove, Rathfarnham for 15 euro.
Ice packs are great for pressure headaches with Chiari and can be very soothing for the headache, especially if is worsened by an illness that is giving you a temperature. It is great on the back of the neck, your forehead, top of your head etc. I have also found it very useful.
I have also noticed if you put it on the top of your feet while elevating your legs the blood will pump harder to your feat and not your head relieving some pressure and pain.
As I said above elevate your legs mean your body works harder to get the blood to your legs and feet which in turn relieves some of the pressure in your head.
A Hot Water Bottle
A hot water bottle like an ice back can be great to relieve muscle and nerve pain (and it keeps you nice and toasty) so it is a win, win.
Ginger tea or ginger and turmeric made into a tea is great for Chiari pain, headaches, muscle pain etc. As Ginger and turmeric both have anti-inflammatory properties so it can lessen pain and discomfort.
Supportive, Cusioned shoes
These are a must have if you have Chiari malformation as the pounding of your feet hitting the pavement can really mess with your Chiari symptoms. So it is important to have supportive, well cushioned shoes to counteract this and help lessen the pain. ASICS are a great brand for this and since I switched to them walking long distances, hiking and the odd jog is not as painful.
A go to movie
A go to movie might not to anything physically to ease your pain but it will give you a nice distraction and might cheer you up. Don’t pick anything that will make you laugh or cry to much as that may make the pain worse.
A go to friendly voice or two
Pick someone who won’t judge you, who can sympathise and won’t make you feel worse than I am sure you already do. Sometimes you just need to hear a friendly voice and feel like someone gets it.
The Right Pillow
If you are side sensitive or suffer with Nerve pain a body pillow is a great idea. It can help ease nerve pain in arms and legs. I can also help align your body better, which will help your posture which in turn will help relieve some aches and pains.
Neck pillows are also great if you are travelling of sitting up and have neck pain they just lessen the pressure and make you feel a little more comfort.
Get enough sleep (at least 8 hours) especially if you get stressed easily or work I a stressful environment as stress and sleep deprivation can affect the way your brain works and can affect pain and your tolerance to that pain.
Try and Avoid caffeine
This is a blind spot especially for me, sometimes caffeine helps relieve pain and sometimes it cause symptoms such as numbness to worsen. So work out if it works for you and have it/don’t have it accordingly.
Stay hydrated you don’t need additional pain and symptoms from mild dehydration so aim for 2 lt a day if possible and try and eat a healthy consistent low sugar diet it will help.
But if you need the ice Cream have the ice cream if it is going to make you feel happier/better.
In your day to day life try and avoid it, but if you are going to have alcohol the clearer the alcohol the better it will be in terms of your Chiari.
Most importantly be kind to yourself, don’t spread yourself too thin, don’t be afraid to say no if you are not up for something. Do what is right for you does who matter won’t mind, and does who mind don’t matter. If you need a rest day take it, don’t beat yourself up about it in is not benefiting anybody and the stress will just add to your pain. I used to get stressed out when I had to take a sick day.
Enjoy the pain free/controlled moments, life your life to the fullest, you only get one. Okay you were dealt a shitty hand but do the best with what you have got.
Let me know if you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you. Let me know if any of mine help make your bad days more bearable.
** I am not medically trained these are just the things that I have noticed help me, some were suggestions given to me from members of a Chiari support group and if they worked for me they are included.**
Keep Fighting, Stay strong.