• Lisa Jevens

Pain relief gadgets


For so many of us, aches and pains are an annoying part of everyday life. Countless gadgets claim to relieve pain, from our head to our toes. Here are some innovative items that are made to soothe specific parts of the body that commonly ache. Keep in mind that everyone should talk to their doctor before buying or using any item that claims to relieve pain, to ensure it is appropriate and won't make matters worse.


1. Foot and lower leg pain — ProStretch Plus Stretching is often recommended for foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, tight hamstrings and more. The ProStretch Plus is a lightweight, adjustable plastic device designed to help you stretch the bottom of your foot and the muscles in your lower leg. Simply move the plastic pieces on each end of the ProStretch Plus according to your foot size and the amount of stretch you want to achieve. Then set your foot (wearing a rubber-soled shoe) into the device and roll your foot forward and backward. Stretching is done while standing. The ProStretch Plus fits up to shoe size 14 and a person weighing up to 300 pounds. Purchase at medi-dyne.com for $42.

2. Muscle pain— PAINCAKES Overdid it at the gym trying to honor your new year's resolutions? Those sore muscles often benefit from ice, which is notoriously difficult to keep in place and can be a mess. PAINCAKES are thin, flat, circular, wearable plastic pads that stick to your skin to provide localized cryotherapy. They require no tape or straps, and are reusable up to 100 times. Simply cool them in the freezer, then stick to skin. They are designed for you to be able to move around while receiving cooling relief. PAINCAKES come in two sizes: $13 for one 5-inch and $13 for two 2.875-inch. Visit pain-cakes.com for more information and to order.


3. Neck and shoulder pain — MyPillow That pain in your neck and shoulders could be due to something as simple as sleeping on an old pillow that does not provide proper support. MyPillow was designed to give flexible support without going flat over the course of the night — or the lifetime of the pillow. (It comes with a 10-year warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee.) The patented interlocking fill is designed to adapt to every sleep position. It makes the pillow machine washable and dryable as well. It comes in medium and firm, depending on your preferences. MyPillow is available in home stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's, so you can check it out in person before you buy. Price: about $50 for standard/queen size and $60 king size.


4. Upper back pain — UPRIGHT GO Slouching over a computer is blamed for a lot of pain due to poor posture. The UPRIGHT GO Posture Trainer is a small piece of wearable technology designed to improve posture by reminding you to sit up straight. The small plastic device sticks to your back in between your shoulder blades. It gives a slight vibration when you hunch over, reminding you to adjust your posture. Like all wearable tech, there is a smartphone app that syncs to the device. It tracks your posture and your progress on improving it. It also syncs to the Apple Watch. The UPRIGHT GO retails for $80 at the Apple Store and other retailers.


5. Knee pain — Cordless Knee Heat Therapy Wrap The Cordless Knee Heat Therapy Wrap is meant to bring relief to sore knees. It is more advanced than a typical heating pad because it uses Far Infrared Ray heat that penetrates bone and muscle without getting too hot to the touch. The Cordless Knee Heat Therapy Wrap is designed to fit snugly around the knee with Velcro closures and is cordless, so you can walk around while using it. One charge will warm your knee joint for up to five hours. It has four adjustable heat settings, so you can personalize your experience. The wrap is designed to ease pain from arthritis, tendinitis, runner's knee and other common soreness. Available in two sizes: Small/Medium (knee size 12-18-inch) or Large/XL (18-23-inch). Available from the Sharper Image for $150 at sharperimage.com.


Originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section on February 16, 2018.