Living with Chronic Pain

Adaptive Clothing and Chronic Pain


Most people have a multitude of clothing options to choose from; however, certain types of clothing may be better than others when dealing with chronic pain. Adaptive clothing is clothing that is modified to be more comfortable or easier to put on and take off.

Adaptive clothing may address the design of the garment, such as the widening of a shirt or using a type of fastener that is simple to navigate. It also may address materials used to make garments, such as fabrics that provide compression or have low friction against the skin.

Types of adaptive clothing

Adaptive clothing can help individuals with chronic pain improve their quality of life by increasing their comfort. Types of adaptive clothing that may be beneficial for those with chronic pain conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pants or skirts that are not restrictive at the waist can help individuals with abdominal pain caused by Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, or other gastrointestinal pain.
  • Clothing with fasteners, such as hook and loop fastener or magnets, aid individuals with arthritis or pain in the hands or wrists.
  • Clothing made of cotton, soft bamboo, or linen are best for those with fibromyalgia or pain hypersensitivity.
  • Compression clothing can reduce lower back pain or minimize joint stiffness and swelling.
  • Shirts and other clothing items should be without tags that are irritating to the skin.
  • Loose and flowing maternity clothing helps individuals with pain accompanied by weight fluctuations, skin sensitivity, or bloating. Maternity pants with a belly band can also provide support to the lower back.

Additional sources: VeryWellHealth and The Mighty

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