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Here are my top ten great pain-relieving gifts to give to any chronic pain sufferer.

  1. This massage pillow that easily attaches to any chair will help loosen up tight back muscles and knead out unwanted knots from the comfort of your own home. Perfect for someone with lower back pain. Available on Amazon for £34.99, the RENPHO Back Massager with Heat is just the ticket if your muscles are begging for relief. This Shiatsu back and neck massager has 4 powerful deep-kneading 3D massage nodes and reinforced heating functions, this shiatsu massage pillow helps to relax overused and tight muscles. It effortlessly kneads your knots away and brings you real comfort and relief.

2. Hemp Joint & Muscle Active Relief Gel- High Strength Hemp Oil Formula Rich in Natural Extracts by 5kind. (300ml) 5Kind’s unique natural formula has the perfect ingredients for a great massage. Perfect following physical exertion, or to help tired legs after being on your feet all day. This hemp whole body gel will help you relax and may help mobility. Most effective if used consistently.

This natural formula contains high levels of natural extracts and oils which have a positive effect on your whole body. The high strength Hemp Oil works in synergy with Arnica, Camphor, Menthol & Rosemary Oil, essential natural ingredients to help calm and relax. GREAT FOR MASSAGE USE with natural conditioners, leaving your skin feeling moisturised, smoothed and nourished. Available from Amazon for £18.97

3. RENPHO Massage Gun Deep Tissue, Percussion Muscle Massager, Quiet, Electric Mini Muscle Gun up to 3200rpm, Type C Charging, Portable Size, Muscle Pain Relief. This is an amazing muscle gun. Small but powerful. The Renpho mini-massage gun uses a custom-designed brushless motor for achieving a deeper impact, percussive tissue, and muscle massage. Four massage heads and five speeds provide a scientifically-proven, impactful muscle massage experience.

Pocket size massage gun. Compact, and very light weighing in at only 0.45kg (less than 1 lb), it can be easily stored away and taken anywhere and can be used on yourself. Get a deep tissue massage anytime, at home, travelling, exercising, in the office, whenever it suits you. The portable-sized design is easy to carry and is truly perfect for any time, anywhere use. It has 5-speed levels: From the 1st level at 2000 RPM(Warming Up), 2nd level at 2300 RPM (Relieving Fascia), 3rd Level at 2600 rpm(Breaking Down Lactic Acid), 4th Level at 2900 rpm (Massaging Deep Tissue ), to the 5th Level at 3200 rpm(Professional Mode). Each percussion intensity is gradually increased to achieve a more scientifically-supported approach to muscle and fascia tissue massaging. Available from Amazon for £47.99 This one is on my Christmas stocking list !!!!

4. Yoke Wellness Acupressure mat and pillow – I use this constantly and my son swears by it, he uses it every night before he goes to sleep. He is convinced he feels better and sleeps better for using it.

It was designed on the premise that ‘Self Care us Soul Care’ and is made of 100% biodegradable packaging. It has eco-friendly coconut fiber filling and the mat has 7000 ergonomic spikes for activating tension release and to help you unwind and release any body tension. It’s a natural, drug-free and holistic self-care package that will not only ease your pain but have you feeling more charged up for the day. They suggest only 10 minutes a day is all it takes which is perfect for me to use when I go for my afternoon rest.

You can stand on it for energising power, sit on it during relaxation ( I am sitting on the pillow right now) or lie on it to feel a full-body release. You will then soon feel the muscle tension melt away and is a great product for headaches, stiff neck, back pain, fibromyalgia and insomnia. So, a real all-rounder. For people suffering from insomnia, this has to be worth a try as it certainly relaxed me in seconds. It comes with a self-explanatory leaflet inside which makes you feel you are a very special person to receive this Eco Yoke Acupressure Mat & Pillow. It explains what to expect when you use your mat and how things change in seconds and then minutes into using it. It does exactly what it says on the leaflet and I was quite shocked when it does give a feeling of warmth after 1-3 minutes. It does say that bare skin is best but I was a bit apprehensive about that but I am not saying I won’t try it that way in the future as I can tell this will be well used. Available from Yoke Wellness website for £49.99

5. The Fibromyalgia CFS ME MS Cancer Daily Symptoms Tracker: A 3-month Fill in the Blank Health and Well-Being Self-Assessment Diary Journal Tracker Logbook… Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness sufferers…’ is an A 3-month fill-in-the-blank health and well-being self-management diary journal tracker logbook for Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness sufferers. Worksheets include Personal Information, Medical Conditions, Medications, Healthcare, Contacts, Appointments, Daily Symptom tracking. Weekly Symptom Summaries, Food and Beverage tracking notes.Great for people with Fibromyalgia, Polymyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Cancer, Chronic Pain and Undiagnosed Conditions. Take the diary to doctor’s appointments to help remind you of often-forgotten-to-mention symptoms experienced and to work with your treating health professionals to gain diagnosis, explore and provide feedback on treatment options to self-manage your diagnosed and undiagnosed medical conditions and symptoms, the medications are taken, natural remedies tried, and help identify your specific patterns and triggers by Char Casey, Owner / Founder, eDiY Publishing. Available on Amazon for £11.62 I have written before on how keeping a diary of your symptoms can be a great help for your GP or Consultant to totally understand your condition and symptoms. As I have mentioned before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia simply because my spinal consultant asked me to write down every pain and ache after my epidural for six weeks so he could see if the injections were worth giving. After reading my diary he immediately said he was sure I was also suffering from Fibromyalgia and referred me to a Rheumatologist.

6. Warmies Extra Long Hot Water Bottle from MenKind You cannot beat a hot water bottle to help ease pains but the latest extra long ones are worth every penny of the £20 it cost to buy them.

  • It’s a lovely, long hot water bottle!
  • Slipped into a luxury, fluffy acrylic cover
  • Sure to keep you warm for as long as, well, a long hot water bottle!
  • A great gift for anyone who gets chillier than a Mexican burrito
  • Measures approx. 81 cm long

7. Wireless TENS Machine for Pain Relief, Rechargeable and Compact TENS Unit EMS Muscle Stimulator.  These Tens machines can effectively relieve pain by blocking pain sensations transmitting to your brain and stimulating your body to release natural pain-relieving endorphins. The Tens unit is ideal for knee, elbow, ankle, arthritis, muscle, back, shoulder, neck, leg, abdomen pain, sciatica, period and endometriosis pain relief etc. Natural, drug-free and highly effective TENS UNIT for pain relief with muscle stimulation effect. For at-home use. Safe and Highly Effective.

The wireless design allows users to move freely and make it discreet under clothing. No wire and no remote control compact design makes it very easy and convenient to carry and to use. Suitable for use not only at home or work but also on the go and walking around.

It has six automated Massage Program Options and 20 Power Levels for Intensity. Only 2-Button to control, just turn on the unit by pressing the on/off button and adjust the intensity by pressing “﹢” or “-”. A pair of Gel Electrode Pad is included. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides this professional unit with long-lasting power. Available from Amazon for £20.96

8. EASE Bath Salts . EASE Bath Salts combine Himalayan Pink Salt with organic Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Peppermint Oils to soothe and ease your body. The naturally cleansing salts and soothing, therapeutic essential oils will help you relax, restore wellbeing and leave your skin soft to the touch. This product does not contain CBD but I just couldn’t wait to try it. Or you could try their Calm Bath Salts which combine Himalayan Pink Salt with organic Evening Primrose, Rosemary and Marula to calm your mind and body. The naturally cleansing salts and soothing, therapeutic essential oils will help you relax, restore wellbeing and leave your skin soft to the touch.

The salts are in a lovely container and look perfect with the colours in my bathroom and both my children ( in their 30’s) saw them and commented how lovely they looked and my daughter in particular couldn’t wait to hear what they were like. Available from Grass & Co for £19.50

9. BackCare have a magazine called Talkback which you can buy as a subscription or you can join BackCare for an annual membership and you will be sent the magazine which comes out every four months plus 12 monthly E-Newsletters. It costs £20 Talkback is a full-colour glossy magazine produced quarterly which includes the following editorial content: Back product testing and the latest gadgets, Health and Exercise, Exercises and tips on preventing back pain. Patient-centred approaches to treatment. Research News. BackCare Professionals Section. Readers Letters. Interview with Back Pain Celebrities. A great stocking filler for anyone with back pain.

10. For any Fibromyalgia sufferer then the Fibromyalgia Magazine is the perfect gift. It deals with the areas that matter to readers which include –

  • Medical Research News
  • Campaigning
  • Lobbying
  • Awareness Raising
  • Legal Advice
  • Benefits Advice
  • Worldwide news
  • News from local support groups and charities
  • Treatment Advice
  • Pharmaceutical News
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Pain Management
  • On line directory of all support groups and phone friends
  • A nationwide directory of FM resources
  • Opinion and Entertainment from our unrivalled team of columnists

It is a monthly magazine subscription for £34.95 and they have been Providing the Independent voice of UK Fibromyalgia monthly, for over 20 years. This Listing is for 1 Year Subscription to your door (£2.91 per month) They also offer a monthly digital subscription here. (£1.99 per month)

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I love Christmas and everything that comes with it but especially the cards that drop through my letterbox which make Christmas even more special.

I look forward to sitting down with my address book and writing to some friends and family that I only get in touch with over Christmas. I take my time writing each one with a personal message on what we have been up to over the last twelve months. After the year that we have all been through, I am looking forward to hearing how others have got through the last twelve months.

I include photos of my family in some of the cards as I have two very young grandchildren who are growing fast and one who was born during the lockdown. I even keep in touch with my children’s first babysitter who is now in her late 80’s. She loves to hear how they are and their families are getting on.

I also take my time in choosing my Christmas cards and with personalised ones now available from a number of companies this can make them even more special. With so much choice the hardest thing you will have to do is to decide which one to use. With beautiful and festive designs from Christmas trees, reindeer, snowflakes, Santa, stars, Christmas scenes, and lots more.

Aura Print make some beautiful printed Christmas cards and personalised Christmas gift tags. They provide printing solutions for many businesses in Huddersfield & Yorkshire, and also print for a huge range of different companies across the globe, from the USA to Europe. They really take pride in all their work and think it is a core part of what Aura Print represents. I have dealt with this company before when I had some beautiful business cards made from them.

Since its beginnings in 2007, Aura Print has proven itself time and time again to go above and beyond what our customers expect. From director Liam Smith printing as a one-man operation now to a dedicated team of nearly twenty experienced print professionals, all with their specialities such as foil printing, wide-format print or precision trimming. The main goal has always been to provide high-quality print, that doesn’t break the bank, with expert service to top it all off.

They believe they offer the very best service possible and great prices for every aspect of digital, litho and wide format printing. They also sell flyers, business cards, gift tags, banners, booklets, signage and stickers. You will find some great reviews on their site and from me personally, I am happy to give them five stars.

Some people think that personalised Christmas cards must be expensive but this is not the case with Aura Print. A personalised Christmas Card or Gift Tag will make your gifts very special.

The history of the Christmas card courtesy of The Smithsonian Magazine started with a prominent educator and patron of the arts, Henry Cole who travelled in the elite, social circles of early Victorian England, and had the misfortune of having too many friends.

During the holiday season of 1843, those friends were causing Cole much anxiety. The problem was their letters: An old custom in England, the Christmas and New Year’s letter had received a new impetus with the recent expansion of the British postal system and the introduction of the “Penny Post” allowing the sender to send a letter or card anywhere in the country by affixing a penny stamp to the correspondence.

Now, everybody was sending letters. Sir Cole – best remembered today as the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – was an enthusiastic supporter of the new postal system, and he enjoyed being the 1840’s equivalent of an A-Lister, but he was a busy man. As he watched the stacks of unanswered correspondence he fretted over what to do. “In Victorian England, it was considered impolite not to answer mail, ” says Ace Collins, author of Stories Behind The Great Traditions of Christmas. “He had to figure out a way to respond to all of these people.”

Cole hit on an ingenious idea. He approached an artist friend, J.C. Horsley, and asked him to design an idea that Cole had sketched out in his mind. Cole then took Horsley’s illustration – a triptych showing a family at a table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor – and had a thousand copies made by a London printer. The image was printed on a piece of stiff cardboard. At the top of each was the salutation, “TO:_” allowing Cole to personalise his responses, which included the generic greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You”. It was the first Christmas Card.

Appreciation of the quality and the artistry of the cards grew in the late 1800s, spurred in part by competitions organized by card publishers, with cash prizes offered for the best designs. People soon collected Christmas cards like they would butterflies or coins, and the new crop each season were reviewed in newspapers, like books and films today.

However, the first recorded use of ‘Merry Christmas‘ was in a Christmas letter sent in 1534. The first known item that looked a bit like a Christmas card was given to King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) in 1611. This was more like a large ornamental manuscript rather than a card as we think of them today. It was 84cm x 60cm (33″ x 24″) and was folded into panels (it might have been folded so it could be carried around). It had a picture of a rose in the centre and a Christmas and New Year message to the King and his son was written into and around the rose. Also on the manuscript were four poems and a song – so rather more than are on cards today!

Source: Aura Print, Why Christmas and Smithsonian Magazine

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With everything that is going on in the world today it is no surprise than many people are feeling low. The dark short and sunless days just add to a feeling of lowness.

Photo by Matej on Pexels.com

Obviously, it is certainly no surprise to read that people who suffer from chronic pain can also suffer from feeling depressed at times which will be worse at this time of year.

According to Happiful Magazine many of us are worried about someone’s mental health this Christmas. Happiful say that according to a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults by the Mental Health Foundation, over half (54%) are worried about the mental health of someone they know this Christmas. As we enter the festive season, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%) and children (28%).

With news of a vaccine, there’s a taster of hope on the horizon; two in five (42%) said they are feeling happy, hopeful or excited about the season. Yet, despite this, nearly a third (31%) reported feeling anxious or stressed as we approach Christmas.

So, now is the time for giving kindness to someone else be it a phone call, text message or what I have found has really cheered me up this year, an old fashioned letter. Research shows that an act of kindness demonstrates our concern for another’s vulnerability. It can help someone feel appreciated and has the power to reduce stress, improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.

It was my other half’s special birthday yesterday and I wanted to make it special for him so I contacted everyone I could think of to tell them he was celebrating a big birthday and asked if they had time on Sunday to get into contact with him.

He was completely overwhelmed with all the constant messages coming through on his phone, FaceTimes with friends and lots of good wishes from people on Facebook for him. He said it was the best birthday he has ever had and loved the surprises I had arranged for him. That simple act of kindness from people he knew made it very very special for him.

But I am sure many of you, like myself have written notes in your Christmas cards this year. I have a slight tremor in my right hand which means my writing is far from neat so I typed my messages out and popped them in with the cards. One of my friends wrote back with a long and newsy letter and I found out more from that letter this year than I have found out over the past 10 years. It made me want to write back straight away to give her more of my news and thank her for the lovely letter.

The post is expensive but an email letter can be just as nice. You can dress up your email to make it look pretty if you think it looks a bit business-like. After going through all my contact list for my husband’s birthday messages I made a note of many of them I only hear from once a year with a Christmas card as I plan to write each and every one of them all my news from over the last 12 months. I have even had a few pictures of my granddaughter printed to pop into some of them as unless they have a Facebook page will never have seen a picture of her.

Think of someone you know or someone you know are low at the moment or on their own and contact them somehow to make their day.