As someone who manages chronic pain daily, I find that oftentimes I am adjusting my clothing. Waistbands pinch, seams scratch, and sometimes my clothes just plain do not feel “right.” Clothing can be a source of pain for many of us, so it is important that we make wise choices when we decide what to wear.
Fit and function
I find that clothing that is fitted is the worst choice for me. It is important to choose loose-fitting clothes that allow movement and are lightweight. Look for fabrics such as cotton, knits, fleece, silky or satiny material, or flannel. Avoid lacy trim, which can scratch, and check embroidered areas on the inside for backing that may irritate your skin. Make sure seams will not be bulky or dig into your skin, and that the thread is soft.
Some especially tricky items to purchase are undergarments. Bras with an underwire can be particularly painful. Underwires can dig into your skin; try to avoid them. Also, look for bras that don’t have lace trim or inner seams that are irritating. Wider, padded straps are less likely to dig into your shoulders. Being fitted for a bra that fits well is also important. Try front closures to avoid straining and twisting. Also, some of us can get away with sports bras, though they can be tricky to get on and off if you have shoulder or neck pain.
Socks often cause discomfort because the elastic is too tight. Try different types, sometimes shorter socks are more comfortable because they don’t dig into the knee or calf. If your socks make your shoes feel constricting, try a lighter weight material. Do not be afraid to look into socks for people with diabetes, there are some quite fashionable compression socks out there!
Pants and skirts often have button or snap closures. When trying these on, consider whether the buttons are manageable. Larger buttons are easier to work than small ones; if you are handy with a sewing machine, you can make adjustments as needed. If you have difficulty with buttons and snaps, look for skirts or pants that have drawstring ties rather than elastic. Elastic bands can dig into the skin as you wear them; if you do choose an elastic waist, try to find a size a little larger than snug.
When you shop for an item of clothing, make sure that it is comfortable, looks good on you and helps you feel good about yourself. Then, buy 2 or 3 in different colors! Several of the same great items, in a variety of colors are much better than several different so-so or uncomfortable items.
Cotton flannel pajama pants or lightweight jogging pants are perfect for lounging around the house, even if close friends or family members stop by. Even so, try not to wear them outside of your home or yard. Even though they are comfortable, they will not make you feel your best. Make sure you have some comfortable clothes, even such as a nice tracksuit or yoga pants, for running errands. It may only be a small step up from those pajama pants, but when you look good, it helps you feel good.
When you put your laundry away, think about how the items made you feel when you wore them last. If your answer is “ouch!” put it in your donation box immediately!
Article written by Katrina.