Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

Posted by Lisa Ramos on

Picutre of California Artist Lisa Ramos in Her MONOLISA Booth from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

Ironically when I started writing this blog about chronic pain I had an unexpected injury occur. It was a Tuesday morning and I was recovering from a long outdoor show I had the prior weekend. I was organizing my jewelry inventory which required moving bins in my tight storage area. While I was lifting one of the bins I felt an immediate sharp pain in my back and tear feeling in my right hip area. Instantly, I knew something wasn't right. My personality said to power through it, but I knew it was not going to be that easy. This injury resulted in having to take personal time away from work to rest my body.

For me resting can be a challenge. I thrive on being busy and working on my craft. When I am away from what I love doing, it feels unsettling. For the next four days all I did was rest in bed. I used ice and heat to treat my injured areas and hoped for the best. While resting I worried about my work commitments. I had an upcoming out of town festival in Morgan Hill and wasn't sure if I could make it with my current condition. My main concern, setting up my popup tent with this injury - lifting a 63 pound pop-up tent, tying down four 31 pound weights and setting up large tables. The tasks of heavy lifting and set-up of my booth was concerning. All I could do is try and remain positive. I reminded myself to trust the process and that everything would workout. By the time the weekend rolled around by a stroke of luck I was fine. 

Managing physical pain has been a part of my life for a long time. It started over a decade ago and I continue exploring new pain management strategies. In this blog article I am sharing some tips that help me manage my foot, lower back and hip pain. Although it doesn't cure my pain it certainly helps me live a much more comfortable life. I am hoping my tips can help others. So, let's take a look...

Picture of a padded cushion from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips
Aylio Seat Cushion

1) Use a Seat Cushion  

Don't leave home without it! Using a seat cushion while sitting at home, work, or travel has been a life saver. Anyone who knows me understands that I can not go anywhere without my seat cushion. I have purchased a few brands, but the one I continue to go back to is the Aylio orthopedic foam coccyx cushion on my chairs to alleviate lower back pain and arthritis in my hips. I have tried a few cushions, but this one is my favorite. I have been using this brand for over 6 years - worth every penny. The gray velour cover is machine washable and very soft. I love this seat cushion so much I have six of them which I keep in my studio and vehicles - I use one at my art shows and while driving. I never leave home without it! 

2) Use a Scooter   

If you have physical disabilities with your back, feet, or hips and walking is a challenge consider an electric scooter with a helmet (it does require good balance). Most shows I do require taking my scooter to get around.  Often the parking is too far to walk for my feet and hips so I use an electric scooter. The scooter easily gets me to and from my car in no time. A bonus, it is fun riding it too! To save time after a show, I store a dolly hidden in the back of my tent. The one I have been using for about 3 years now is the Gotrax Adults Electric Scooter, 8.5" Pneumatic Tire. The battery lasts up to 18 miles with a speed of 15.5 mph. The foldable scooter weighs 33 pounds and is 43"L x 16"W x 43"H.  

3) Apply Heat and Ice To Relieve Chronic Pain

I am obsessed with my heating pads. I have one for my back and a few for my hips. No matter where I am I always use heating pads at night and in the morning. The warm heat helps manage my pain and arthritic areas. I look forward to my nightly ritual of getting into bed really early to heat those painful areas. I find that heating pads relieve my pain within hours. I also alternate with ice, but prefer heat in those areas that ache. When using ice I use a lower back re-usable wrap that I can adjust with a velcro belt. 

Picture of Lisa Wearing Black Coolover Copper Compression Socks  from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips
Coolover Copper Compression Socks and Sketchers Work: Arch Fit SR - Jitsy

4) Compression Socks Really Work

I never understood why people wore compression socks, but now I do. After being tired of looking at my swollen left ankle after a long weekend at a shows I decided I had to make a change. In 2023 I started doing research on compression socks and decided to try a few pairs. Once I started wearing compression socks I immediately saw the results. My swollen ankle went away and the socks created lots of blood flow in that swollen area. My go to socks are the Coolover Copper Compression Socks. I wear them in the studio and while working 14 hour days at shows. A bonus, the socks are so comfortable and come in a variety of colors. 

5) Arch Support Shoes with Cushion Footbeds

I wear Sketcher sneakers everyday. I appreciate the brand’s style options - colors in soft pinks, baby blue, light lavender, classic black, bright whites and unique ombre effects. I have been wearing the brand for years. Sketcher sneakers are ideal for my feet, because they are light-weight and have the softest footbed around - great for my extremely sensitive feet. The shoe brand includes arch support styles which keeps my body aligned - helping to alleviate my foot, hip and back pains from aging. I really like Sketchers Work: Arch Fit SR - Jitsy style - great arch support and soft footbed. 

Picture of Metatarsal Pads from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

6) Foot Gels Relieve Foot Pain

I wear foot gels everyday and all day. I have been wearing them for over 10 years and there is a reason why. They help prevent more foot pain and provide an extra layer of padding - which I really need. The only time I remove the gel pads is when I am sleeping in bed. I like to place the sticky part near the Metatarsal ligaments. I use Premium Gel Ball of Foot Cushions during the day and Metatarsal Pads at night. These foot cushions do wonders to my feet. At the end of each day I wash the clear pads with soap and water so I can reuse them. After wearing the Metatarsal Pads Fabric Sleeves with Gel Inserts (also referred as gel metatarsalgia dancer pads) I put them in the wash and then let them dry naturally - don't put in the dryer. 

Picture of Floor Padded Mats - MONOLISA Studio in Clayton, California from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

7) Padded Mats For Standing

I hate walking on cement and hard services. Unfortunately, I can not stand on cement for more than a few minutes without an immediate pain trigger on my back and hips. To fix this problem I use padded mats. I use padded mats at all of my shows and in my studio. Whether I am standing in the studio or behind a table in my booth I am on a padded mat. I can't work without my padded mats. 

8) Rest Your Body and Stretch

Although my mind says keep going, my body says stop. I have learned over the years that rest and recouping is essential for my body. Although, I want to keep going hundred miles per hour I can't. So, this year I am taking more time to rest my body in between my shows. This has helped me manage my pain and fuels my creative process. This year I decided to work towards getting a healthier body with light stretching. I love exercising but due to my physical issues I am very limited in what I can do. Today, I focus on what I can do instead of what I can't.

Picture of Dolly with Bins on Top from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

9) Use Lighter Bins

After my recent injury I decided to reorganize my business storage bins. I had to reduce the weight of the bins, because they were too heavy. Having lighter storage bins makes load in and out of shows for me much easier both physically and mentally. Lighter bins put way less strain on my back, neck and hips while lifting them in and out of my van. The only downside is that I have to move more bins, but my body certainly appreciates the lighter loads. 

Picture of Red Flowers from Blog Article: Working Around Chronic Pain - 10 Tips

10) Massage Therapy 

In 2024 I decided to make some changes to alleviate my ongoing pain with some pampering. I noticed my physical pain getting worse earlier this year after doing a few shows - which was worrisome. I came up with a solution to help relieve my aches and pain that I really enjoy. I started doing massage therapy after my weekend shows. The first time I did it in April I felt instant relief. Although it is an expensive form of treatment, the price is worth it to me. On Mondays after a doing a long weekend show I get a massage and then go into the hot tub to relax my muscles. Not only does it feel incredible it forces me to take time off. Oh it feels amazing. The older I get I am started to really see the importance of pampering myself!

"Take time to smell the flowers." 
California Handbag and Jewelry Designer Lisa Ramos
This blog post is written by California Designer, Lisa Ramos.

 Related Article: A Walk in My Shoes - Art & Pain

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