Gift Ideas for Headache Sufferers

Whether it’s for Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday or a get-well gift, About.com’s headache page recommends 10 gifts, which all cost less than $25, for people with headache. Teri’s list is full of great ideas and made me wonder what I’d put on a headache wish list. It’s mostly variations on the themes that Teri covered, but I’m not so good at sticking to the budget.

If you’re reading this, you probably have headache yourself. So maybe it’s a wish list of things you want to buy for yourself or you could pass the list on to those who will be giving you gifts. Check under books for resources for caregivers.

This list is far from comprehensive, but I’ve been writing this post for four hours and must end somewhere. Please comment to suggest gift that you might like or that you think will be good for others in your life.

Books
In addition to the books listed in the sidebar, my absolute favorite headache book is Migraine: The Complete Guide, published by the American Council for Headache Education. It doesn’t talk down to readers and still provides a thorough education on the basics of headache, theories of causes, current research and treatments, and dealing with the emotional aspects of headache — for sufferers and their families. It’s also inexpensive: $10 for non-members of ACHE and $7 for members.

Published in 1994, the book is surprisingly current. My theories for this are that treatments take a long time to develop and that the authors had an inside scoop, which took the mass media awhile to catch on to.

Books for caregivers and others affected by your illness are also available. We all know we aren’t the easiest people to live with and we harbor a lot of guilt for the extra work and losses that our loved ones have to deal with. It’s a fact that illness changes our relationships. These books can ease that change. (After following the link, sorting by readers’ reviews will give you the most highly recommended resources.)

Organization Memberships
Both ACHE and the National Headache Foundation have educational organizations for patients and their families to join. The charge to join ranges from $20 to $25. The most valuable part of the membership, for me, is the newsletters that both organization publish. Follow the links above for more information on memberships.

Temple, Forehead & Scalp Creams
Peace of Mind on-the-spot treatment from Origins is a pepperminty product that smells wonderful and makes your skin tingle. I rub a little on my temples and forehead when my pain gets bad; it’s a lovely distraction and takes my mind off the pain a bit. The $10 bottle is tiny, but it lasts a long time. The Peace of Mind line contains other products that I’ve never tried, like massage oil and vapor bath cream, which may be just as soothing as the on-the-spot treatment.

Similar products are available for a little bit less at all the bath stores, like The Body Shop, Bath & Body Works and Garden Botanika. I’ve tried all these kinds, but haven’t found one that lasts as long or is as potent as Peace of Mind.

Essential Oils
Essential oils are a low-tech version of the aforementioned creams and are also more versatile. You can rub them on your skin without diluting them, put a some in a spray bottle of alcohol to make a room spray or disinfectant, put a few drops on the top of a candle before lighting it or just open the bottle and smell. The most frequently recommended scents for headache are lavender and mint, but a person’s favorite scent is also an option. Growing up in a neighborhood that was once a citrus farm, orange and lime are exceptionally soothing for me. Oils are available at Whole Foods-like stores, health food stores and bath shops, as well as online (my favorite is Florapathics).

Eye Shades for Sleep
So many choices… I like the ones with a ridge that keeps the mask from pressing down on your eyes, like Bucky eyeshades, which also have an ingenious pocket for ear plugs. Bucky products are also carried at Whole Foods and similar stores. Online retailer Dream EssentialsDream Deluxe and Dream Essentials shades are almost identical to Bucky’s and are available in a cornucopia of colors and fabrics. All these shades are between $20 and $30.

At $35 Brookstone‘s Tempur-pedic eye mask fancies up these products. Your body’s heat molds the eye mask to the exact shape of your eye area, making it a perfect fit. My experience with it has been standing in the store, but it sounds like it would be neat. Even more gadgety is the company’s Sound Therapy eye mask. The $40 product has tiny speakers so you can listen to the "five tranquil sounds" that come with the mask or plug right in to your favorite relaxation CDs.

If whimsy is what you’re looking for, there’s an eye mask that lets you embody Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol at the same time.

Soothing Eye Shades
Dream Essentials has terrific options for these too. Choices include bead or gel masks, both of which can be cooled or heated. The $10 bead mask is intriguing, but I’ve never tried it so can’t vouch for it. Their gel masks are $7 and appear to be identical to those at Whole Foods, bath product stores, drugstores and even places like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens ‘n Things. The Body Shop’s gel masks, which range from $6 to $8, are slighly different in that they cover the entire eye area.

Aromatherapy masks, which are usually filled with flax, essential oils and bits of the same herb (like lavender flowers) are blissful. All the stores I’ve mentioned carry them and I’ve seen them in lots of other stores, including World Market (the new name for Cost Plus). They are priced around $10 and the scent can be refreshed by squeezing the pillow to release oil from the flowers or adding a few drops of an esssential oil to the cover.

Spa Blankets
One of the pricier items on the list, these cozy lavender-filled blankets can be heated in the microwave to release their scent. The outside blanket is made of some palatial-feeling fabric. Online prices range from about $40 to $60, sometimes with matching slippers included.

These must be heated with caution. The microwave must be stopped part way through heating to take out and refold the blanket. Otherwise it might burn. My lovely lavender blanket has a charred corner and has been waiting for a year for me to sew it back up.

Candles
Always a terrific gift, aromatherapy candles are especially appreciated — as long as the recipient loves the scent. Sticking with naturally scented lavender and mint is usually safe (although I know several people who hate peppermint with a passion). Aritifical smells make some people, like me, violently ill. Blended scents are also risky.

Made from a petroleum-prodcut, paraffin candles can be a headache trigger. More expensive, but also with less soot and fewer toxins, soy or beeswax candles are a good alternative.

Miscellaneous Things
If migraine or your meds make you spacy or you want to let someone know your mood, these notepads and door hangers are the solution.

Mr. Bump, Mr. Happy and Little Miss Helpful gel packs will cool you off and may let you reminisce about learning to read (they do for me at least, but Hart has no idea what they are).

Retro ice bags are also kind of fun.

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Posted in Coping. 1 Comment »

One Response to “Gift Ideas for Headache Sufferers”

  1. Julie Says:

    Can Santa bring us a new brain that is headache free? All I want for Christmas is a pain-free brain, a pain-free brain, a pain-free brain…….(sung to the tune of All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth). LOL

    I love it! Thanks for the laugh, Julie.

    K


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