Great podcasts for chronic illness

Podcasts are a largely untapped resource for most people—but they could be especially useful to people with chronic illness. They’re a great option when you don’t have a lot of energy but want to be productive or distracted. We’ve rounded up a few podcasts that discuss or are relevant to those with chronic illness.

Download or bookmark them now to listen to next time you’re in a waiting room, exercising, sitting on the couch, riding in the car or just seeking some entertainment or information.




In Sickness + In Health

Cara Gael, a 2016 Stanford Medicine X ePatient Scholar, has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type, and hosts a regular podcast for all people with ongoing illness. Here’s the official description:

“In Sickness + In Health is . . . about our relationships with our bodies, and issues at the intersections with chronic illness, disability, healthcare, and mortality. It is a show where the personal is political, and where bodily autonomy, healthcare, and disability rights are considered human rights without question.”


Invisible Warrior Radio

Adrienne Clements, illness advocate and empowerment coach, hosts this podcast to provide simple strategies to manage the challenges of living with chronic illness. Through personal observations and professional interviews, the episodes have a cheerful, self-help tone and incorporate social psychology.


The Painiac

Shelly Jackson hosts this podcast with a similar feel to Invisible Warrior Radio, but aimed at exploring mindful pain management. From the description:

“Each week, Shelly will share simple and practical tools to help you reframe your relationship with chronic pain or illness.”


The Hilarious World of Depression

John Moe, a seasoned public radio journalist and humorist, hosts a polished series of conversations with comedians who have experienced depression from American Public Media. The shows generally don’t try to offer advice or counsel, but use reflection and stories with the intention of encouraging those with clinical depression—and are still captivating and funny even for those without it. (Many of the episodes contain adult material and aren’t meant for family listening.)


Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Everybody can benefit from thinking and focusing on the things that make us happier. Gretchen Rubin has devoted her life to figuring out what those things are and finding ways to help others practice them. One of those ways is through her encouraging and thought-provoking podcast.



Sarah and Aaron Sanchez talk about coping with Lyme disease in their marriage. They offer advice on a variety of chronic illness topics. Some episodes relate primarily to Lyme disease. But plenty are also more general, covering topics such as financial organization, navigating medical bills, dealing with grief, etc., by interviewing health, finance or chronic illness experts. Their motto is “fight, heal, live.”


Single episodes


“Something Only I Can See”

From: This American Life

This is the riveting story of how one woman’s dedicated research into her own disease helped her diagnose an athlete with a different version of the same rare disease. It explores genetics research and how patients often have to be the experts of their own diagnosis.


“Healing a Chronic Illness”

From: Adventures in Happiness with Jessica Ortner

Jessica Ortner, a New York Times bestselling author, takes on chronic illness and happiness in this episode of her regular podcast. She talks with a woman about self-care and nutrition while living with the stress of a diagnosis.


“Help Me Remember”

From: Terrible, Thanks for Asking

This polished, popular podcast from American Public Media, covers many topics that are hard to talk about in everyday society. One episode explores the impact of a traumatic brain injury on a family. Understanding how the family is learning to live with a new reality is potentially relatable for anyone whose life has been turned upside down by a diagnosis.


“Living with a Chronic Illness with Julie Morgenlender”

From: The Notable Woman Podcast

Host Cristin Downs interviews a finance expert who writes about chronic illness. The expert offers advice especially relevant to those who love people with chronic illnesses.


Medical podcasts

Try searching your disease-specific patient organization for podcasts—many have some sort of recordings meant to educate others on the disease.

Big research centers also have podcasts that are often relevant to chronic illness. Try searching the National Institutes of Health, Stanford, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, World Health Organization and anything other resource you respect for audio material.



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