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Compression

I have learned the importance of compression for my autonomic issues, and just wanted to share in case anyone else can benefit from my experience. I’d been wearing compression socks at the direction of my primary care physician. I saw a neurologist specializing in dysautonomia and autonomic function, and was a instructed to also wear abdominal compression. I did, and to my shock, I saw improvement within 15 minutes. A few weeks later, I had an appointment with my primary, and told him about it, and he suggested compression tights or leggings to compress the vagus nerve from ribs to toes. I got some compression leggings and, even though I knew compression had helped so much I didn’t expect anything, really, since only my knees to mid thigh had been without compression. Boy, was I wrong.

In dysautonomia or autonimic failure or dysfunction, compression can help blood from pooling in the body. Pooling is a big cause of the blackouts that occur upon standing. I’d been wearing the socks, but it never would have dawned on me to add other compression garments, nor would I have been especially receptive to the idea in general. I have an incredibly tender abdomen. I always have, and can’t even have pants that go over my abdomen or waist. Everything is ultra low rise or dresses. To my shock, the abdomincal compression didn’t hurt beyond the first few minutes, and then I felt relief. It actually minimized the abdominal pain I typically feel.

Cost

I still spend a lot of the day in bed and rest a LOT, but I’m able to at least participate in life with my husband and children again. The issue with compression garments is their cost. Even with insurance, it’s nearly impossible to figure out how or where to order items that insurance will cover. I have spent so much time on the phone with insurance and with the neurologist’s office. I still have zero answers.

I decided to just see what I could find on my own, and it was that compression garments are very pricey. Looking at medical supply sites for abdominal compression garments, I found that they were anywhere from $50-$100, which is not especially affordable, but also, when you’re skeptical to begin with about even being able to tolerate it, it makes it even harder to consider spending that kind of money on something. So I searched and searched and read reviews and asked questions. I found this Maidenform High-Waist (which I traditionally hate, but in my opinion is very necessary in this particular instance) boy short. To my surprise and delight, I noticed a near immediate difference! I’m talking within 15 minutes. It went from intitial discomfort to relief. And being able to stand up without such awful pressure in my head and neck, and without blacking out. And at under $20, it’s an affordable alternative to the $50-$100 or more options.
After having such success, telling my primary, and him then suggesting something going from my chest to my toes, I started looking again. I’d seen exactly what he was describing in previous searches and had, at the time, thanked my lucky stars I didn’t have to wear them. For a couple of reasons: they look truly awful to wear (as in uncomfortable), and they’re ridiculously expensive. We’re talking anywhere from about $75-$200+ for a single pair of compression leggings or tights. I again searched and searched and read reviews and asked questions. I found a pair of $12 compression leggings. What?! Sarah, that’s crazy! They can’t be legitimate! I know, I know, but reviewers are usually brutally honest about these things, and the fact that a number of people complained that these were too small or too tight told me they are, indeed, compression packing. Thankfully I found them to be exactly as I’d hoped as far as compression goes. It’s actually comical to put them on, but what they do is almost magical to me.

Since the leggings are working so well, I decided to get more so that when I can wash them without having to go without wearing some. I love the $12 pair from above, but wish they were about two inches higher in the waist . So, I went on the hunt just to see if I could find anything promising in the same price range. I found these DKNY Compression tights, and the reviews look very promising. They haven’t arrived, yet, but I will update when they do. At $15 (sale price, so I don’t know if the price will increase soon), knowing at the worst they’re not quite as high as I’d like, it was worth ordering for me. I’m also just including the compression socks that I most prefer at a price point I can do. I have admittedly not purchased the expensive ones, as I have found these to be great for my needs. **Update: I love the compression tights. They are incredibly comfortable, and they’re the right height, too. They don’t have quite as much compression as the leggings, but going down a size would likely remedy that. They look toddler sized, but I promise they stretch. Because they’re so comfortable, I’ve abandoned the leggings. I really do like them, but they’re just not quite high enough in the waist for what I need, so they cut in on my abdomen a bit, making the tights the winner for me.

Those are the best compression finds I could come up with at this time. They’re not medical grade, and I’m not giving any sort of medical advice! Just sharing my experiences and what I’ve found as successful alternatives to expensive compression garments. I really hope this is helpful!

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