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5 Tips for Managing Chronic Pain When You Travel

Traveling these days is pretty uncomfortable. Planes are cramped, dry and without most of the amenities that used to make it fun. Trains aren’t as reliable as they should be, and most of them are stripped of all but the most basic creature comforts. Buses break down as often as they maintain their schedule, and always seem to be hot and smelly regardless of the weather outside the windows. You can take care of yourself a little bit better when traveling in your own car, but the hours upon hours of sitting in the same position while battling traffic might make you wish you had stayed home. And what if you have to deal with a chronic pain issue on top of all that stress and frustration? Here are five tips to help you manage chronic pain when you travel.

First of all, consider the way you choose to travel carefully. If you absolutely have to fly, try to avoid having to make connecting flights. The additional landing and liftoff could play havoc on your pain issues, and if you’re late for that connection you won’t be able to rush across the airport. Also make sure you’ve got a quality set of luggage with sturdy wheels, so you won’t have to carry a lot of weight around. And don’t be afraid to reach out to the airport if you need extra assistance, especially if you’re traveling with a wheelchair.

Before you head out the door make sure you’ve gone over a detailed packing list for your trip. You won’t want to pack at the last minute when you have chronic pain to deal with. Create a checklist for any medications you will require, as well as things like blankets and heating pads that will make you more comfortable on the journey. And pick up the properly-sized plastic bag for security regulations, so you can bring your pain management medications with you on the plane.

When you’re choosing hotels for your final destination, don’t just book one randomly online. Search around for a price you are comfortable with, but then call the hotel directly. You’ll want to ask about any amenities that might lessen your pain, especially if you expect it to flare up after long hours of traveling. You might be able to lock in a room near one of the elevators, or find out if they have a spa on premises for a quick, relaxing soak. If you tell the concierge your situation they should let you book with them on the phone at those online prices.

If you’re traveling for a big vacation you’ve been saving quite a long time for, make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You might love to sightsee, but you can’t ignore your physical limitations. Make yourself a priority list. At the top should be the most important sights, the ones you’d be devastated not to make. At the bottom will be the things you might like to do but can live without if your pain gets serious. Armed with the list you’ll be much less likely to overextend yourself.

Finally, make sure whomever you are traveling with understands your limitations. Don’t keep your chronic pain a secret from your travel buddy. You probably don’t want to mess up their good time, or you feel like your family member or friend is sick and tired of hearing about your pain management and injury relief efforts. But if you try to push it just to make them happy something worse could happen that really will ruin the trip. Set up a schedule, and let them know you’ll be more than fine to stay back at the hotel if they want to do something that’s beyond your current abilities.

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