Veronica With Four Eyes

Choosing Jewelry With Chronic Pain


Some girls adore shoes. Others adore purses. For me, I absolutely adore jewelry. It’s rare to see me without wearing a necklace, and even more rare to see me without earrings. With chronic head and neck pain as a result of Chiari Malformation and a car accident, it can be challenging to find pieces that aren’t a heavy weight on my head or that look overpowering on my small frame. Below, I have highlighted my tips on picking out great jewelry pieces, and what to avoid.

Stud earrings

An ever classic style, stud earrings go well with any outfit, especially if they are in a metal like silver, gold, or rose gold. Try to avoid earrings that are more than half an inch in diameter, as they may stretch your earlobes or weigh them down. Typically, my earrings are eight millimeters or less in diameter and very minimalist- not a lot of extra stones or details. Another great material is 3D printed earrings that are made from plastic (with metal posts) and come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Dangle earrings

Yes, you can wear dangle earrings with chronic neck pain! Monitoring how heavy they are is the most important part. I don’t buy any earrings that are heavier than 0.2 ounces. I also try not to have them be more than 1.25 inches long, as they tend to get fairly heavy after that. A majority of my dangle earrings have singular, lightweight gemstones. Two of my favorite stones are onyx and garnet.

Layering necklaces

These necklaces usually come on a 16″ long chain, which comes below the collarbone. About half of my necklaces are this length and are made of metals, with very small charms, if any. I like to layer these with other longer necklaces or scarves. All of my necklaces weigh three ounces or less.

Pendant necklaces

I used to own a lot of statement necklaces that I rarely wore, but sold them all after my car accident because I couldn’t take the extra weight on my neck. Instead, I now have small pendant necklaces on 18″ chains, with the pendant an inch in diameter. A lot of my pendant necklaces are very meaningful to me as they represent one of my interests- in this picture, you can see a necklace with Veronica flowers, a whale shark pendant (inspired by my love of Finding Dory), a circuit board necklace, and a gold Braille pendant with my initials.

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I enjoy layering these with other necklaces for my casual outfits. Again, lightweight is best, as I will frequently reach for something that does not hurt my neck. These can get in the way sometimes, but I have had no issues with my necklaces breaking, thankfully.

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I do not wear many bracelets, but have found that I like simple metal cuffs that do not slide up and down my wrist. I avoid beads and anything that makes noise.

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Jewelry clasps can be painful for difficult for people with chronic pain to use. While I have no issues using lobster clasps, there are magnetic clasp converters available for necklaces and bracelets so people can put them on easier. They cost $5 or less and can be removed if needed.

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While not technically jewelry, I couldn’t go without covering things to look for when buying scarves. I avoid any scarves that weigh more than eight ounces or that have glitter threading, as those irritate my neck. I have had incredible luck with thick organic cotton, viscose, and cotton voile scarves. Cotton voile is my most worn because it is so breathable and it can easily hide a pain patch on the back of my neck. I have a mix of infinity and oblong scarves- I do not care much for square scarves, and can’t wear the popular blanket style as it is so heavy on my neck.

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I hang my necklaces on corkboard using Pinhooks to avoid tangling- Pinhooks can be purchased here. My earrings are stored in a hanging earring bag that I purchased from Charming Charlie several years ago. My scarves are on an accessory organizer from Ikea called Komplement.

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I typically buy most of my jewelry from Novica, an online marketplace associated with National Geographic with ethically made jewelry from around the world. They list weight and length for all items, which is helpful. I find the rest of my items from creators on Etsy and Amazon Handmade.

While I won’t be starting a fashion blog or anything of the sort, it’s helpful to see what styles of jewelry work well for people with chronic pain.


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