toolbox-msI carry a black bag with me on all my visits to my clients who have chronic pain.  Inside you will find tools that I use to help someone find a little comfort.  These include massage oils (castor oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil); a variety of pain relieving essential oils; CD’s of relaxation music or guided imagery; scripts for guided imagery that I read as I teach the “in’s and out’s” of this technique; educational handouts on a variety of topics; inspirational messages to brighten their day and provide encouragement; medical grade magnets and tape to hold them in place; hand cleanser in case clean running water is not available and a roll of paper towels.  Oh, and the cord to my ever ready CD player is a must have.

I tell clients that my bag is bottomless and if one tool does not work then I will just dig deeper until I find something that will work for them.  I try different combinations of these tools, always attempting to find that unique combination which is just perfect for that individual.  There are several points that I account for:  the type of pain, the skills they already have, and any limitations (including belief systems) that might make any particular tool not useful for them.

So, do you have a Pain Toolbox? What are your secret weapons? If you do not have one, it is never too late to start one. Here are some suggestions of my favorite items.

  1. Relaxation music CD (Example: Stream of Dreams by Michael Maxwell, Dan Gibson and Reiki Hands of Light by Deuter, Can be purchased on
  2. Guided imagery CD (Example: A Meditation to Help Ease Pain’ by Belleruth Naparstek, can be purchased on
  3. Inspirational book to lift your spirits.
  4. Book or collection of jokes and cartoons
  5. Castor oil reduces inflammation and pain
  6. Any over the counter analgesic (pain relieving) ointment or cream that contains any of the following oils: (if you go to a health food store you can purchase these oils separately and make your own combination of pain relieving oil)
    • Lavender oil – good for anxiety and for pain reduction
    • Arnica oil – inflammation and pain reduction
    • Bergamot oil – pain reduction
    • Camphor oil – pain relieving
    • Mentholatum – pain relieving
  7. A good movie that stimulates your imagination or pulls you in to the plot is always a great distraction tool. Or one with lots of humor and laughter.
  8. Your prescribed medications for pain, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety medications, etc.  Use only as directed.
  9. A few go to exercises to help strengthen your muscles to support your body. And a few that help you to safely stretch and become more flexible. (I like Egoscue E-cizes and water walking and stretching exercises in the water)
  10. A minute timer – to use when engaging in any activity so that it reminds you to not overdo and to take frequent breaks.
  11. A Pain Diary to keep track of your progress
  12. The contact list of Your Pain team: healthcare provider, other specialists, physical therapist, massage therapist, counselors, family and friends. Don’t’ forget to include your pain buddy, if you have one!

So, share with me what helps you, comforts you when you are in pain. I really want to hear back from you. Please comment below and tell me what’s in your pain toolbox.


  1. – for more ideas to include in your pain tool kit
    • CD – Stream of Dreams by Michael Maxwell, Dan Gibson
    • CD – Reiki Hands of Light by Deuter
    • CD – A Meditation to Help Ease Pain by Belleruth Naparstek
  3. Friends In Pain: Cleaning, Reorganizing & Decluttering Our Lives
  4. (Non-Profit Organization, The Pain Community, a national organization, providing pain education, support, advocacy, and the hope people need to regain strength and live a full life.)
  5. – a downloadable diary for your use.
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