Living with Chronic Pain
Assistive Ideas for Self-Care in the Bathroom
Source: WebMD, Arthritis Foundation, Everyday Health, WebMD
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Using the bathroom and showering with a chronic pain condition is often an exhausting chore. A multitude of assistive tools can make these necessary activities easier for an individual with chronic pain, allowing a renewed sense of independence. A few adaptations in the bathroom can make a world of difference to an individual with a chronic pain condition.
Assistive tools for using the bathtub and shower
- Grab bars
Entering and exiting the shower or bathtub is safer and easier when grab bars are available. Grab bars can be installed in the shower or next to the bathtub to make standing and sitting down easier.
- Shower chair or bench
Sitting while taking a shower saves energy and puts less stress on joints which allows an individual with chronic pain more time to take care of hygiene. A transfer bench helps individuals with limited mobility get into the shower or bathtub.
- Opening-and-closing taps
Unlike traditional turning taps, opening-and-closing taps simply lift up and push down without the turning movement that can irritate the wrist joint.
- Long-handled brushes and sponges
Washing the back and feet is no easy task for a person with chronic pain. These tools reach any part of the body without requiring an individual to bend or stretch too much. They are also easier to grip than washcloths.
- Handheld shower wands
Like long-handled brushes and sponges, handheld shower wands also make it easier to wash hard-to-reach places.
Assistive tools for using the toilet
- Raised toilet seat with side rails
A raised toilet seat with side rails increases the height of the toilet pan which makes it easier for an individual to sit down and stand up. Side rails provide stability while sitting down and getting up which helps maintain balance.
- Sheets of toilet paper and wet wipes
Some individuals with chronic hand pain have difficulty separating the sheets on a roll of toilet paper. Individual sheets are easier to manipulate with one hand. Pre-separated sheets of toilet paper or wet wipes (safe for flushing) are available for purchase.
- Portable bidets
Sometimes navigating toilet paper to wipe the proper area of the body is impossible; this is where a bidet would come in handy. These are expensive devices but very useful in the long run.
Helpful hygiene tools for high pain days
- Dry shampoo
Dry shampoo soaks up excess grease and oil in the hair. It is a convenient product to use on days when washing the hair is not possible.
- Cleansing wipes
Oftentimes, a thorough bath or shower is unnecessary or impossible. In this circumstance, cleansing wipes come in handy. Cleansing wipes can help keep the hands, face and other body parts clean until bathing is possible.
- Waterless cleansers
Waterless cleansers are gentle and effective for daily use and can be used from the comfort of anywhere in the home, not just the bathroom.
- Electric toothbrush
An electric toothbrush is a convenient tool for individuals with chronic pain. Brushing the teeth with an electric toothbrush is quicker than using a manual toothbrush. Thick-handled electric toothbrushes are also easier to grip.