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Gift guide for people with pain

By Janet Jay

The holiday season is here and with it, the need for gift ideas! If you’ve got someone with chronic pain in your life– or if you have chronic pain yourself– here are some ideas to make life a little easier. The products were selected by U.S. Pain Foundation staff, the majority of whom live with chronic pain.

1. Weighted blankets 

Sleep is essential to healing, but can be hard to come by for people in chronic pain. Weighted blankets are a great option– they can be surprisingly calming, especially for people with anxiety and depression-related issues that so often go along with chronic pain.

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From left, Wade Delk of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing; Steinberg; and Elliott Warren, of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association.

As 2019 comes to a close, U. S. Pain Foundation and other advocates are making a final push for Congress to hold a hearing on the report with recommendations for best practices in pain care, released by a federal task force seven months ago. The recommendations in the report, which was mandated by Congress, run from increasing coverage of multidisciplinary therapies to developing a public education campaign to reduce stigma around chronic pain.

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Chronic pain can make you feel insignificant. Living with limitations day in and day out, you start to believe you don’t matter as much as the next person.

But you do.

In fact, we would argue that you’re stronger and more determined than anyone. It takes immense courage and grace to live with constant pain. It means learning how to find joy in the little things and discovering meaning in even small victories, like being able to get outside for a few minutes, or having enough energy to take a shower.

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Art by Kristina Malmberg.

This year’s annual KNOWvember campaign, “Art Through Pain,” focused on how creative expression can be a useful tool for processing our experiences with chronic illness and even help us cope with daily pain.

Created by U.S. Pain Foundation, KNOWvember is a month-long educational campaign for the pain community. This year’s campaign offered virtual events, interactive social media posts, and an art submission initiative.

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A tribute to a dedicated pain warrior who passed away in 2016, The Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year Award is an annual recognition presented to a volunteer who has excelled in grassroots awareness and advocacy efforts for the pain community. The award is given to a U.S. Pain Foundation ambassador and/or advocate who inspires others to make a positive difference by aligning with the organization’s mission to empower, educate, connect, and advocate for people living with chronic conditions that cause pain.

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City & state: Ashland, OR

Age: 52 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017

Health conditions: Complex regional pain syndrome and early-onset degenerative disc disease

Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “Check your expectations. Think in moments versus days or hours (“This is a tough moment” versus: “This is a hard day”). Be empowered by choice, even in the bleakest most painful moments…choose how you are going to respond.”

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By Amy Orr

‘Tis the season – for stress, excess, and expectations. No matter what holiday you celebrate, this time of year can be a lot. There are elaborate dinners to prepare, parties to host and attend, presents to find, decorations to hang, families to visit, traditions to respect, and very little time for self-care. But your body doesn’t know that, and chronic pain is, if anything, exacerbated by stress and busy schedules.

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A new federal bill would expand and coordinate scientific research of cannabidiol (CBD) or marijuana-derived products, allowing researchers to better understand their potential efficacy and safety. While medical cannabis is increasingly available in a number of states nationwide, too often, there is little clinical data available to help patients and health care providers make informed decisions about whether it would work well for their specific condition, or how much and what type to use.

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Pain Connection, a program of the U.S. Pain Foundation, has announced that its next training for chronic pain support group leaders will be held Feb. 29 and March 1 in San Diego, CA. The trainings are led by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Clinical Director of Pain Connection, and Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for U.S. Pain Foundation.

Currently, Pain Connection offers 19 in-person support groups and five monthly support group calls. Each of these offerings is led by an individual who attended a weekend training and learned about Pain Connection’s evidence-based support group model.

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