Investing in Tools That Help Make Life Easier With AS

Someone once told me to never skimp when buying the tools you’ll use the most.

This has taken on a new meaning for me thanks to my axial spondyloarthritis. I’ve developed a new perspective on those household items I use repeatedly, because they all have an impact on my pain levels.

Investing in good quality versions of those items has become a priority

I can’t afford to overhaul everything at once, but it’s changed my willingness to splurge on certain items in order to take better care of myself.

It started with my pillow, then my mattress

How many hours do we use our pillows for? I try to get 8 hours sleep, so over a year that’s just under 3,000 hours. After years of putting up with a lumpy old thing from the supermarket, I finally treated myself to a shaped memory foam pillow that gave great neck support. The change to my neck pain was almost immediate, and I kicked myself for not doing something sooner!

Next came our mattress, which was desperately due for an upgrade. As much as I love my husband, rolling in to greet him in the middle of the bed had become an involuntary move thanks to our sagging innersprings.

The mattress we purchased was in the part of the store I’d never ventured into before, but there was a half price sale and they offered a 90 day money back guarantee. Our fancy new Danish mattress was delivered a few days later.

Like the new pillow, the difference of sleeping on this mattress was staggering. Not only was I having better nights with more quality sleep hours, I was noticing less back pain during the day. That was four years ago and I still lie in bed at night glad we made that investment.

Then I invested in high-quality shoes and inserts

Like many people with AS, I’ve had recurring problems with plantar fasciitis. Seeing a podiatrist and getting custom made orthotic inserts for my shoes has helped a lot, but its ruined me for life for inexpensive shoes.

There’s still a row of beautiful shoes in my wardrobe. I’m emotionally attached to them but can no longer wear them out for the pain they’ll inevitably cause.

I’ve graduated to only wearing well-made, supportive footwear guaranteed to work for problem feet. Naturally, these don’t come cheap and I’m very slowly replacing the basics for every occasion. I’ve even discovered pretty heels I can wear for hours at a time that are designed with people like me in mind; it’s been a revelation that I actually don’t have to suffer just for the sake of an outfit!

Then I got a new car

The biggest change-over I’ve invested in so far has been a new car. I used to drive a low-to-the-ground sedan which made long drives an exercise in agony. Getting in and out was equally painful.

Purchasing a mid-size SUV has changed all of that for me and has to be the best investment I’ve made in reducing my back pain. It’s easy to get in and out of and has a boot (trunk) area that’s up high and easy for me to access. I even splurged on fully adjustable, heated seats and have to say this is a huge benefit for a sore lower back if you can afford it.

Future ideas

My office chair is the next item in my sites. I try to alternate sitting with standing, but still spend many hours a day in it and know I could benefit from something better designed for my needs. Hopefully within the next year or so the budget will allow me to upgrade to something I can sit and work in more comfortably.

Few people are in the position to upgrade major items all at once, but its definitely worth considering your back when you’re investing in any of these frequently used items. What tools have you purchased that have changed your back pain for the better?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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