Living with Chronic Pain

Tips for Holiday Baking While Dealing With Chronic Pain


The holidays can be an exhausting time of the year, especially when dealing with chronic pain. The smell of freshly baked cookies, cakes, pies and breads can put people in the holiday spirit. However, it can also be a reminder of things that can no longer be easily accomplished for those with a chronic pain condition.

Chronic pain doesn't have to keep you from the joy of baking during the holiday season. Below are six tips to help with holiday baking while dealing with chronic pain.

  1. Make a shopping list
    To cut grocery shopping time in half, make a detailed list of items needed. This list should also be organized by department. Grocery pickup or delivery services are also beneficial when planning to bake several items.
  2. Utilize the right tools
    Many tools on the market can make baking less of a chore. Some of these devices include electric openers, food processors, blenders, and electric mixers. Use pans with two handles to distribute the weight. Use a portable kitchen timer when baking instead of going back and forth to the oven to check on the baked goods. Also, using cushioned mats in the kitchen can ease pressure on your hips, legs and back.
  3. Try a wrist splint
    If hand pain is a problem, a wrist splint can reduce pain, improve hand function, and increase hand strength. A wrist brace should be snug but not too tight, while allowing you to grasp objects. These can be purchased over-the-counter, or a health care professional could order a custom-fitting splint.
  4. Prepare and pace
    Many desserts can be baked a day or two ahead of time. Homemade breads can also be prepared beforehand and frozen or stored in an airtight container. Don’t try to do it all at once. It is best to work for a bit and then rest. Give yourself extra time to prepare and bake.
  5. Keep ingredients handy
    Organize your work space with all spices, flour, eggs, oil, etc., at arm's length. Be sure to have your bowls and pans easily accessible to save time and energy looking for items. This also decreases repetitive tasks. Placing spoons and spatulas on the counter is also beneficial.
  6. Use a stool
    When baking, mixing ingredients can be time-consuming. Standing in one place for an extended period causes pressure on the legs, back and hip. Use a stool that is counter height to ease this pressure while mixing your delicacies.

Additional sources: National Council on Aging and Verywell Health

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