You know the saying: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Whoever said that had never made a long trip with chronic pain.
As many doors as traveling opens, it comes with plenty of aches and pains, especially if you already have long-term pain. The good news is that with a little planning and extra effort, you can enjoy your trip with minimal travel pain.
Use these top tips for your next adventure.
1. Carry Your Helper With You
If your pain comes with mobility limitations, you probably have an aid you use on a regular basis. Chances are that there is a travel-friendly version.
If you use a cane, look for a retractable cane that fits in your handbag. There are also fold-up chairs that are surprisingly easy to carry with you.
This doesn’t just apply to mobility aids. If you use heat or ice packs for your pain, there are portable versions of these too. Stock up on disposable hot/cold packs, topical products, or other options.
2. Keep Tabs on Your Pills
If you have pain medication or other medications for your health conditions, you need to know TSA’s rules for traveling with medication.
It’s a good idea to keep your pills in your carry-on luggage instead of a checked bag. In the rare case that the airline would lose your luggage, you aren’t stuck in pain.
Make sure you keep your medications in their original prescription bottles, complete with your prescription information. Security officials are on the lookout for people transporting medications illegally, and you want to make it clear that yours are legitimate.
If you prefer to sort your pills in a daily case, bring the empty case and sort your pills when you get to your destination.
3. Find Out What Your Hotel Offers
For many people with chronic pain, a great way to get relief is in a sauna or hot tub.
As you book your hotel, look for hotels that have those facilities. At a minimum, make sure your hotel room has a bathtub instead of a stand-up shower alone.
If you aren’t sure, call the hotel to ask and explain why you’re asking. They may have rooms with different options and could offer you a room with an upgraded bathtub at the same cost.
4. Ask for Help in the Airport
Airports are famous for being uncomfortable, but if you have physical limitations, all you need to do is ask the right questions.
If standing for long periods of time triggers your pain, talk to the TSA agents in the security line. They may escort you to the front or have other options so you don’t have to stand in line so long.
Most airports have a long walk from the security to your gate. To avoid making the long and painful trek, ask for an escort in a motorized cart.
When you get to your gate, talk to the gate agent as well. They can offer you assistance with boarding the plane and loading your luggage in the overhead areas.
5. Know Your Limits
When it comes to staying comfortable while you travel, time is a major factor. A two-hour flight is far different from a ten-hour flight.
Plan your trip accordingly. Consider booking a trip with a layover or two instead of a long direct flight. This gives you a chance to stretch your legs and refresh yourself in the middle.
You can do the same with driving. Plan plenty of time to take breaks every few hours. You’d be surprised what a few minutes of walking around can do.
6. Pack Your Own Snacks
Pain comes from your brain. If you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired, it tends to make your pain worse.
Keep pain to a minimum by making sure you’re comfortable in every other way possible. While you should try to keep up as regular of an eating schedule as possible, it’s also a good idea to plan ahead with snacks.
Want to have water at all times without paying the high price in the airport? Bring an empty water bottle with you. After you get through security, you can fill it up at water fountains.
7. Look for Accommodations Everywhere
When you travel, you don’t just need to think about pain during the travel itself. What about when you get to your destination?
There are more accommodations available than you think. Many attractions have motorized carts or staff escorts to help you get around. Rental car companies often have cars with accommodations like swivel seats or extra space.
In some cases, facilities need to plan ahead. Take a look at your itinerary in advance and call all the facilities you plan to visit. Find out if they have any accommodations based on your limitations and ask how you can get access to them.
8. Ask Your Pain Management Specialist
Depending on your pain’s cause, you may have other ways to control your pain on the road.
Talk to your pain management specialist in advance. They may be able to give you stretches or massages to use during your trip. They also know your condition well and can give you more specific advice about traveling.
Minimizing Travel Pain
Who among us doesn’t wish we could snap our fingers and be at our destination?
Seeing the world and visiting family and friends are among the best joys in life, but getting there can be a problem for people with chronic pain. Thankfully, plenty of people have come before you and found ways to keep travel pain to a minimum.
The tips above can help you stay comfortable. If you’re looking for more ways to get your pain under control, call our pain clinic today.