First Class Flight Plan: Managing Pain during Travel

Going on vacation can be a nice break from your life. You get to relax, maybe do some things you don’t get to do often, and take a break from all of your obligations. But your chronic pain doesn’t know you are on vacation. You can’t break away from your body. Managing your pain before, during, and after traveling is important to your body’s health and your well-being.

Before:

Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your medications and stock up on supplements. You do not want to be in a new place without the essential things that you need to manage your pain. Make sure you have enough to last you for the entire time you are gone.

Prepare to sleep in comfort. Long flights are uncomfortable for people without chronic pain. Having pain makes the experience much worse, so pack a foam pad or a travel pillow for extra comfort.

During:

When you get on a long flight, do not worry about picking up your heavy carry-on to put it in the overhead bin. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help. If you are able, bend at the knees and do not twist your body to pick up heavy bags. Pack lightly if you know you have to travel far across the airport and pick up bags often.

Take rests and get moving when you need to. Doing too much can trigger your pain and doing too little can as well. If you are on a fast-paced vacation, remember to take some time out of every day to just rest your body. Do not push your limits when you are not at home. Plan out your travel so that you are not over-doing it. If you are traveling for long periods of time in a car or plane, be sure to take frequent stops and get up out of your seat to walk around and stretch. Pain can also manifest out of sore, motionless bodies.

For fast and easy relief, a cold/hot pack will bring the most comfort on the go. There are many disposable packs that you can use making them ideal for lengthy travel.

After:

If you need a little extra TLC after traveling, schedule a spinal cord stimulation, nerve block, or other therapy session of choice for after your travel period. If you know that you are going to be in pain after a road trip or flight, stay on top of it so that you are not trying to manage your pain at the last minute.

Be aware of the above tips before you travel. Improper lifting and sitting postures can make for an uncomfortable ride in the short-term and more agony in the long-term. Remember to stay positive and be prepared. Your next trip will be a success!

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