In order to remain as independent as possible and to minimize the disruption of daily life, consider changes to your daily routine and surroundings. For example, doing normal activities can be quite painful. Activities such as walking, taking the stairs, squatting, sitting for long periods, and getting in and out of vehicles become a challenge. Every patient and their family should assess their daily surroundings and prioritize the modifications needed. This can help the patient maintain their independence and function. Some of the lifestyle modifications that patients may wish to consider include:

• Clothing
• Flat shoes instead of heels for patients with lower extremity challenges
• Slip-on shoes
• Velcro or zipper closures for shirts or sweaters
• Bathroom
• Grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and next to the toilet
• Long-handle comb or brush so the patient does not have to raise his or her arm high
• Tub or shower bench
• Bedroom
• Blanket support frame so that blankets or sheets do not rest directly on the feet of a patient
• Nightlights in the bedroom and any other rooms where the patient may walk if they awaken during the night
• Automobile
• Handicapped parking stickers
• Modified controls to facilitate driving
• Seat positions that are easy to manipulate
• Kitchen
• Easy grab handles for cabinets
• Lightweight appliances (e.g., vacuum cleaner, pots and pans)
• Lightweight flatware with long handles

Author's Bio: 

Ms. Ingle is a Chronic Pain Educator for the Power of Pain Foundation, guest speaker for The American Pain Foundation’s Power Over Pain Campaign since 2007 and National Motivational speaker. She has been a pain patient since 2002 and began mentoring other patients through The RSDHope Organization in 2006.

Prior to her auto accident causing chronic pain and subsequent surgeries, Barby was a business owner, event coordinator and head coach at Washington State University for the entire spirit program. Barby has managed a staff of 40 employees and over 50 team members/volunteers. She performed administrative and legal tasks pertinent to managing a small business. Head trainer for all instructional and judging staff. She created and choreographed original program material. Educated and certified all cheer and dance coaches in the state of Washington running up to 25 conferences a year. Barby prepared speeches, tests, manuals and performed presentations.

Barby had been speaking at charity events, awards ceremonies, special groups and all kinds of public venues for 17 years as part of her job as a Collegiate Head Coach, business owner and now as a patient advocate. She graduated from the George Mason University in 1994 with a degree in Social Psychology. Ms. Ingle uses her skills from Cheerleading to inspire and motivate patients to be self advocates and offers tips and tools for patients, caretakers and healthcare professionals. Honors include 2003 who’s who of U.S. Cheerleading coach’s honoree, 2004 Cheer LTD. Coach of the year nominee, Teams ranked nationally in the top 10, coached at the Sun Bowl and two Rose Bowls. Barby has also served as a National speaker, Author of the Cheertec Coaches' Handbook; six part DVD Series on aspects of cheerleading, RSD in Me! A Patient And Caregivers Guide To Dealing With RSD And Other Chronic Pain Conditions. She is also a contributor to Cheerleader! An American Icon and CO-Arthur of The Wisdom of Ingle.