Gift Ideas for People With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

Are you looking for a gift for someone with fibromyalgiachronic fatigue syndrome, or chronic pain? While you certainly can't define people by their illness alone, some commonalities in people with these conditions can make certain gifts fabulous and other gifts failures.

It helps to know what kinds of issues people with these conditions face, and there are likely more than you realize. Here are 10 gift ideas and whether or not they're appropriate for the person you're shopping for.


Warming Products: Likely Win!

JovanaT/Getty Images

Many people with these conditions are cold a lot of the time and have a hard time warming up when they get chilled. These days, you can find a lot of things that heat up—blankets, slippers, scarves, and more.

Also, a lot of microwavable products are on the market, such as heatable neck pillows or "rice bags."

Warm socks, a cozy bathrobe, plush slippers or other warm clothing may be a good choice as well.

The big things to consider with this kind of a gift are:

  • Make sure the fabric is ultra-soft and the product itself isn't heavy against the body
  • Be sure the product is easy to care for (i.e., machine washable) so it doesn't take work to use it
  • With electric products, check to see if the heat turns off automatically so it doesn't become a hazard if they fall asleep, or if brain fog strikes and it doesn't get turned off
  • Items that use water, such as heated foot baths, could be too heavy or require too much cleaning

Relaxation Aids: Likely Win!

Woman lying on couch listens to headphones.
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Easing physical and emotional stress can help alleviate our symptoms, so promoting relaxation is good.

Soothing music is a good option for many and it's actually therapeutic. Check what technology the person uses or is comfortable with, as some prefer less up-to-date options. Possible gifts could include music-download gift cards, wireless speaker, CDs, MP3 player, or good headphones. A subscription to a streaming music service is also a good option.

Other possibilities are massage devices or things that aid meditation.

Use caution when considering these choices:

  • Many people are sensitive to noise and/or vibration, so vibrating massagers may not be a good choice for some
  • Avoid aromatherpy, bubble bath, scented lotions, scented candles, etc., unless you know the recipient is not fragrance sensitive or prone to skin reactions

Time Fillers: Likely Win!

Close up of a man's hand as he colors in an adult coloring book.
Westend61/Getty Images

These conditions can mean spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch, and things that fill downtime can really be valuable. Ideas include:

  • Adult coloring books with markers or colored pencils
  • DVDs
  • Small, hand-held video games or apps (especially brain-training games)
  • Puzzle books (don't forget mechanical pencils)
  • Books (for those with good cognitive function)
  • An e-reader
  • Hobby/craft supplies for activities they enjoy

If you're willing to keep up a subscription as an on-going gift, these can be great options:

  • Video-streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime)
  • By-mail movie rental subscription
  • Magazine subscriptions


  • Movie tickets or theater gift certificates
  • RedBox gift certificates
  • Anything they'd have to leave the house for

Illness-Related Books: Possible Win, Be Careful

Blaise Hayward/Getty Images

If the person is newly diagnosed or really struggling with symptoms, an easy-to-understand book might help. A lot of good books are out there, but so are a lot of bad ones.

  • Avoid those that claim to hold the "cure" or promise good results—nothing is proven to help all of us
  • Stick to major publishers and widely distributed books
  • Check online for reviews from readers and medical professionals
  • Skim parts of the book to see if it's approachable and not weighed down with too much medical jargon

Exercise-Related Gifts: Could Be a Big No!

Dumbells sit on a yoga mat along with a rolled towel and a water bottle.
Lee Wonyeop/Getty Images

This is one to avoid unless you know for certain it's something the individual would want!

People with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome get a lot of well-meaning but inaccurate advice from people who think they should exercise more, when in reality exercise may make them significantly worse, so be aware that this is a very sensitive issue for many of us.

However, if you know the person is trying to walk more or has a regular exercise program, something that makes exercise more pleasant or aids them in some way could be a very appropriate gift.


Plants: Maybe?

Three cactus plants sit on a white shelf in front of a red wall.
Jan Kickinger / EyeEm / Getty Images

House plants can help create a healthy and pleasant environment, so they might seem perfect for someone who spends most of their time at home.

However, they could be a bad idea. Someone who has trouble caring for themselves may not be able to tend a plant, and it could become "one more thing to worry about."

Flowering plants can be a big problem for someone with allergies, too.

If you do decide a plant is appropriate for the person you know, be sure it's a low-maintenance variety.


Gift Cards & Event Tickets: Some Caveats

Green concert tickets on a white background.
kaceyb/Getty Images

Planning ahead is difficult when you have an unpredictable illness, so tickets to a date-specific event may be hard for a person to use. The same goes for gift certificates with an expiration date.

Gift cards to local places are likely to go unused, especially by someone who has trouble driving or isn't able to leave the house often. Don't think, "It'll give her incentive to go out, and that will make her feel better." In reality, the strain of the shopping trip or dinner out could trigger a symptom flare and land her in bed for days.

Gift cards for online retailers—or local stores with an online presence—may be a better choice. If you don't know of a store the person especially likes, opt for a large retailer with plenty of options.


Skin Care, Candles, Food: Maybe, Maybe Not

Perfume and bathsalts sit on a cloth.
Matthew Ward/Getty Images

People with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome can be sensitive to all kinds of things. Anything that touches the skin or is scented can be a real problem, so things like lotion, body wash, scented candles, perfume, and aromatherapy products are best avoided unless you're well informed about the person's sensitivities.

Many have food sensitivities as well, which could mean food given as a gift goes to waste. Once again, this is only something to give if you know the person well enough to be familiar with their particular food issues.

If they're on a special diet and you really nail it, though, they'll probably be incredibly grateful.


Donations: Great When There's No Pressing Need

A red stethoscope is wrapped around money.
James Brey/Getty Images

If you don't know what to buy or the person on your list is one of those who "has everything," you might want to consider a donation in their name to a major advocacy/research group dedicated to their illness.

Try to be sensitive to the person's financial situation, though. If they have unmet needs, they'll likely be more grateful for cash or a gift card than a donation.


Time & Help: Always a Win!

A clock is divided into multiple slices, like a pie.
Oliver Cleve/Getty Images

The less functional the person is, the more they would probably appreciate the gift of time and help. Can you help with grocery shopping? Gardening? Cleaning the gutters? Putting up or taking down the Christmas tree? Think about what they might need done and make that your gift.

If you don't have time to help, you might consider hiring someone, such as a housekeeper or landscaper, to do a really thorough one-time job or tackle a daunting project.

A Word From Verywell

Keep in mind that the person you're buying a gift for is more than an illness. While their symptoms should be considered when buying a present, nothing beats a personal, well-thought-out gift given with love.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I help someone with fibromyalgia?

    It depends on what they need or have trouble with. Probably the most universally helpful thing would be an offer to help with things like grocery shopping, laundry, or other household tasks that take a lot of energy. To know for sure, it's best to ask the person you'd like to help.

  • What is the best pillow for neck pain from fibromyalgia?

    To ease your fibromyalgia neck pain, look for a pillow that's supportive but doesn't put a lot of pressure on your neck. If you have fragrance sensitivities, be cautious about pillows stuffed with foams as they can put off fumes.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Office on Women's Health. Fibromyalgia.

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.