SAA’s Helpful Hints: Community Wisdom - Tips & Tricks

By Spondylitis Association of America

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Helpful Hints is a new recurring feature, aimed at sharing our community’s knowledge and experiences. In this first installment, we asked our community to share items, products, or tricks they find helpful for daily living with spondylitis issues. We share a sample of responses with our thanks. We hope you find them helpful!

Mats / Pads / Sitting Aids

“I can no longer sit on anything soft; five minutes of me sitting on anything soft will bring about horrible spasms. Wherever I go, I take a wooden board with me to sit on and, if I'm at a restaurant and I find myself without a board, I sit on a serving tray. Early on, I was a bit embarrassed but it's an easy choice to avoid pain.”

~ Jake M.
“Garden kneeling pad to sit on in the bathtub!”

~ Peggy B.
“I have a Shakti mat, also called an acupressure mat. I bought it online, it is like a little bed of nails, but it works a treat when I'm really stiff/sore and nothing else works. I also travel with it, so if I sleep on different beds it helps.”

~ Maree H.
“My heated mattress pad for sure! My biggest lifesaver has been the eco cushion. I was getting to the point that a 30 minute drive was difficult. This cushion has saved my body on longer rides.”

~ Summer D.

Pain Patches and Rubs:

“Aspercreme with lidocaine is my favorite product these days. The lidocaine quickly numbs away the pain. It really helps me sleep or walk with less pain when I apply it to my ribs/knees.”

~ Minionette W.
“Salonpas lidocaine patches!”

~ Vicki S.
“Thermacare heat wraps. I wear one if I know I will be walking or sitting for any length of time (like plane trips!)”

~ Robin D.

~ Nicole F.
“Right now CBD cream is my go to for quick pain relief. It dulls the pain in my back, shoulders, and neck.”

~ Gina C.
“Whole plant cannabis salve next to the bed, heated blanket on my half of the bed under the fitted sheet, and my gopher grip.”

~ Ally H.

Miscellaneous & Innovative Tools

“I have fused SI joints and am no longer able to bend down enough to put socks on. I use a sock aid tool by Carex every day and it works wonders for socks. You can find it on Amazon.”

~ Joey F.
“Things I love: The TENS unit! My arthritis gloves, heat pads, meditation, swimming, stretching, and warm baths with Himalayan salt.”

~ Raquel R.
“Shoes that have great arch support, like Birkenstocks really help.”

~ Gweneth A.
“After suffering so long with morning stiffness, trying to get up from a low bed, I bought a “platform” or “chest” bed, which elevates your mattress (and allows great storage beneath!) Suddenly, it was easy to “get up,, as it was just a matter of sliding off the mattress into a standing position. It also helps in dressing - something to lean against when putting on pants and socks. Oh, don’t forget you can grab your pant leg to lift and move a stiff leg! Really helps when trying to put on socks.”

~ Ken J.
“Anything and everything heated is great. Love my blankets. Ice bottle to roll under my feet when plantar fasciitis is flaring.”

~ Jennifer N.
“My item would be microbead pillows. Wonderful for resting sore joints on, like wrists and elbows. Just make sure the pillow isn't stuffed too tightly. You want to be able to squish the pillow around so there's no pressure on the joint.”

~ Ginny, aka SouthernMoss


“Pure Wave Massager!! It is a miracle worker for me in between my massage appointments. It helps me tremendously with sciatica. Also my heated blanket. Must have for me in the winter. The biomat I use when I get my massages done - the infra-red heat gets right into the tissues. So nice!”

~ Jessica L.
“Trigger point therapy”

~ Jody P.

~ Adam L.
“I love aqua exercise in the deep end with a flotation belt: The belt supports my lower back and reduces my pain. Having no impact and floating enables me to be pain free. The pool is probably the only place / time when I'm not in pain.”

~ Clodette M.

Have your own to share? Send them our way! Email to Please note that SAA does not endorse or recommend any specific medications or products for spondylitis, and always advises that you seek the counsel of a physician before initiating treatment. The opinions expressed in the Helpful Hints feature are solely those of our community.


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