Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays

Last Updated on September 5, 2020 by Ellen Christian

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Dealing with chronic pain during the holidays can make an already stressful time of year even more difficult. Marty hurt his back years ago and has had several failed operations that haven’t improved his chronic pain. He is always in some amount of pain and the cold weather and busyness of the holidays can make that even worse. He doesn’t want to miss out on the family fun or the activities he’s enjoyed in the past, but the pain limits what he’s capable of doing.

Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays

Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays

Chronic pain is never an easy thing to deal with. The cause is different for everyone and what tips work for you will really depend on your unique situation. For my mom, it’s her arthritis in her knees. For my husband, it’s his back and leg. For someone else, it may be their hip or shoulder. Your first response may be to curl up in a ball and stay in bed, but that doesn’t have to be the answer. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and try a few of these suggestions.

Find Support

If you’re used to handling all of the holiday preparations by yourself, you may need to find support from others. In the past, my Mom has hosted Christmas dinner at her house. She can no longer take care of all of the food preparation herself. My father helps where he can, and everyone brings something to dinner so she needs to cook less. We also make sure to show up early so we can help with setting the table and take care of any last minute needs.

How to Support Your Health During the Holiday Season

Set Limitations

In the past, I’ve made my own Christmas wreaths. This year, arthritis in my hands and a busy schedule just didn’t make that possible. Instead, I hung wreaths from a nursery. My home looks just as festive as if I’d made them myself. If you aren’t able to do everything you used to do, it’s OK. You don’t need to be perfect or to take care of everything yourself. Know your limitations and recruit the kids, your husband or a friend or family member to help out when needed.

Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays

Remember to Rest

Be sure to get enough rest and to take breaks as often as you need to. You don’t need to do an entire weekend of baking Christmas cookies. Instead, make the dough one day and store it in the refrigerator until the next day you feel up to baking the cookies. On days that are more difficult than others, do small tasks like writing Christmas cards. Do what you feel up to doing and then take a break until the pain is more manageable before you begin again. This isn’t a race.

Manage Your Medication

The holidays can throw your routine off and that may mean that you aren’t taking your medication when you should be. Use medication reminders, notes in your planner, or alarms on your cell phone to remind you when you need to take your next pill. When Marty is having problems coping, I take over helping him with his medication so he stays on track.

When you’re in pain, you may be tempted to just sit this one out, but you don’t want to miss the fun and excitement of the holidays because of chronic pain. Ask yourself how often chronic pain is making you miss out on time with friends and family. Don’t keep missing out. Find a doctor in your area who can talk to you about possible solutions for your hip or knee pain. Find out more at

10 thoughts on “Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain During the Holidays”

  1. I've struggled with Fibro for years and use Essential Oils and my Herbal Pain Creme for locked muscles. If I just cannot possibly deal with the noise and chaos of family I will stay home. I usually don't attend larger family functions anymore. It's just to much. I think the biggest tip I have is to keep your life as calm and unstressful as possible. If you need to rest, sleep or have peace please go find it.
  2. I've learned after 20 years of living in pain that knowing your own limits is so important. I pace myself and if I can't do I can't do and that's that.
  3. Good tips. I have a stomach condition and always have to remember to take my pills for that. A good tip for ANYONE during the holiday season is to get some rest, as there are usually a lot of fun events going on. :)

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