Mad Like Alyce

My Top 5 Pain Management Tools: Part Two

With my current flare up proving to be one of the worst I have had in 5 years (ugh!) I have had to bring out the “big guns” to get it calmed down. In addition to my top 5 pain management tools I use on a day to day basis, I wanted to give you a list of some tools I use for the really bad flares. I bring you My Top 5 Pain Management Tools: Part Two!

Neck Wrap Heating Pad
Sunbeam heating pad

I covered heating pads in my first post on pain management tools, but this flare up required something a little more customized. I have been having terrible pain in my neck and shoulders from a sprained Trapezius which caused something called “Thorasic Outlet Syndrome,” or as my chiropractor calls it “office rib” which is where the muscles pull the first rib towards the clavicle, putting pressure on the brachial plexus nerves and arteries that run between them. To combat the pain during the work day, I found this heating pad that is shaped for exactly that purpose! Best yet, it has velcro to hold it in place around your neck. I’m in love!

Heat in-a-click Heat Packs

heat in a click

If having cords hanging around you isn’t your thing, this heat pack a great secondary option. I actually love this for times when a cord is cumbersome or impossible, such as traveling. On long road trips (or even short ones, say an hour or more) you may want something to help with shoulder and neck pain, and these do the trick well! I’ve even used it (years ago) when I was at the movies and slid it under my hoodie so I could be comfortable!

It works by clicking a small bead in the gel by pressing it starts a chemical reaction in the pack releasing heat. It is reusable by boiling in hot water to reset the chemicals, so unless to are traveling to a friends house or somewhere you would have access to a pot of boiling water, it can be a limitation.

TENS Electrotherapy Pain Relief System
Tens Unit

A TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit provides gentle electrical stimulation to your muscles, and it feels like a gentle massage. The best part, these have become incredibly affordable, this one on Amazon is less than $30!

I personally feel like it really helps break my muscles out of a cycle, or at least gives me a momentary break from the pain. It can be annoying because the pads quickly loose their stick, and you have to clean them with a damp rag, and its best to use when you don’t plan to be moving around much. I like using when on my laptop on the couch, watching Netflix, or reading a book, which is best since I am usually laying down and helps the pads stay in place. You can also buy replacement pads for when your old ones have completely lost their ability to stick.


I have had ultrasound done on my arms so many times during physical therapy appointments, and I love this at home unit! It allows me to continue treating myself in between appointments and keep the healing going. This at home unit is less powerful than the medical grade machines at your PT office, which makes it safe to use since the wand doesn’t get too hot if you don’t move it fast enough. Its tough to use on yourself for back and neck injuries, so it helps to have a helpful partner to assist you.

Apex Cervical Orthotic

This is something I would recommend talking to your doctor about before using. My chiropractor recommended this for me to work on correcting the curve in my cervical spine… which is currently non-existant. I only use this for a few minutes each day, and it is actually too tall for me, so I place a pillow under my shoulder blades to raise my shoulders and dramatically reduce the pressure while using. I have noticed that using this for even a few minutes at the start of a headache can actually help me stop it from developing into a full blown migraine.

Bonus: Resistance Bands

For me, it is of upmost importance to do my exercises every day… and flare ups like this show me just how much I need to make this a priority even when I feel fine. I’ve gotten plenty of print outs of exercises from Physical Therapists over the years, and I have really been working hard to make sure I do them once per day. These resistance bands make it easy to do my exercises and band up when I’m ready for a stronger band.


Hi! I'm Alyce.
Welcome to my journey towards living a happier and healthier life while living with PTSD and chronic pain... and never letting it keep me from my passion for Halloween, cooking, and way too many DIY projects... all at the same time!

Costume & Makeup Tutorials


  • I should be in bed, but instead I'm fighting sleep and fooling around on Photoshop. This is a mirrored version to complete a full face. I have my makeup out and ready for a new look, but have nothing left in the tank today, so here's my last Gwen Dylan... for now ;)
Also, I forget how asymmetrical our faces can be until you flip a photo, or in this case, mirror it. Even just flipping it looked so strange to me!
  • I’m having waaaayyyy to much fun with this one, and it’s just the makeup! I think I might have to start this cosplay this weekend... what’s a good material to use to make a fake shovel blade? I’m a nube when it comes to fabrication, so any and all advice is welcome!
  • You GUYS this might have moved to my favorite makeup of all time. Gwen Dylan, inspired by the cover of iZombie: Dead to the World. I think I might have to make this a full scale cosplay, what do you think?

The zombie half was created using @mehronmakeup water paints. Wig is from @ardawigs (I think it is the Magnum Long Classic in Titanium Blonde). Eyes were photoshopped to match the comic book cover.
  • You may know of Liv Moore, but do you know who Gwen Dylan? You guys, i'm really really pleased with how this turned out! Modeled after the cover of iZombie: Dead to the World, Gwen Dylan is the original iZombie heroine, a revenant zombie that must eat brains once per month to retain her mind, which is easy, seeing as she is a gravedigger. 
The zombie half was created using @mehronmakeup  water paints. Wig is from @ardawigs (I think it is the Magnum Long Classic in Titanium Blonde). Eyes were photoshopped to match the cover.
  • Some like it hot! Unlike Liv Moore in iZombie, I would get some pretty bad heartburn, but that doesn't stop me from adding Sriracha. I think the most disturbing part of this picture is that even though I added white to the foundation to get that "ultra pale" look, you still can hardly see the difference between my face and hands... sigh. #palelife #zombie
  • When you get those late night munchies... Another look at this Full On Zombie Liv Moore from iZombie. The more I look at this, the more I love it... why do I procrastinate in posting things for so long?!? I've got a few blog posts in the works for projects that I started last year! I should hopefully have more things up in the near future. In the meantime, bon appetit.
  • Happy Valentines Day! I'll always love you for your BRAINS!!!
I did this iZombie Liv Moore in Full-On Zombie back before my surgery and just haven't gotten around to posting until now! I had wanted to come up with some kind of Valentines day themed look to kick me back into things now that my arm is mostly functional, but I was just struggling to think of what I wanted to do. Valentines Day is just not my thing. Unless there is chocolate. I Digress.
Halfway into my glass of wine, I realized this was the perfect time to post this look. I technically have a video, but the jury is still out on whether or not to post it just yet. I'm mostly just glad to be at a point where I can start experimenting with makeup again!
  • Anybody else struggle this time of year? I’m looking at these lovely sunbeams from my Alice In Wonderland shoot this summer to bring some sunshine to my day. I’ll be doing just fine, then be lying on the couch trying to feel like I can breathe again. I know it is ok, and these increased symptoms will pass, but it’s certainly not fun, especially when I have projects and ideas id like to tackle, but can’t get past this paralyzing anxiety. What do you guys use to help with SADD? #SADD #anxiety #ptsd #seasonaldepression  #winteristheworst #whydoilivehere
  • Halfway done! Still a ton to do, and I’ve learned ALOT already, like how not to sew in an invisible zipper, that I need a seam ripper, and need to invest in real fabric shears. But it’s actually coming together! Having never used a pattern before, I admit I looked at the pile of paper with some skepticism. Also, it kind of matches my couch. 😂 #cosplay #sewing #mccallspatterns #mccalls #mccallscosplay #spacesuit #plussizecosplay


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