Tips for summer travel with chronic pain
June 10, 2020
If you’re planning a trip this summer, don’t let your chronic pain ruin your excitement. Our biggest piece of advice for those who will be traveling is to plan ahead as much as possible.
This planning should start by meeting with your doctor at Southside Pain Specialists. We would love to know that you have a trip coming up, especially if it’s a longer trip. This is the time to bring up any concerns you have, tell us about any changes you’ve been experiencing, and ask questions about physical limitations. You may also need to make sure you have any prescription medication refills.
Before your trip
Research! Try to find out as much as you can about the area where you will be vacationing. This should include information about your hotel, resort, or condo, such as whether or not they have accommodations for those who have limited mobility. Plus, research nearby restaurants and markets. It’s also a good idea to determine if there’s a pharmacy or urgent care center nearby just in case.
Once you get to the packing stage of preparing for your trip, focus on what you’ll need to keep your body comfortable. You’ll want comfortable clothes and shoes first and foremost. Also think about any possible changes in temperature you might experience, such as cooler nights, that could aggravate your symptoms.
Packing also means thinking about items you might need if you have a pain flare-up. You may want to pack items that will provide some level of pain relief, such as heating pads, over-the-counter pain medication, a neck pillow, icy-hot creams, and more. These more conservative treatment options may really help. When it comes to prescription medications, make sure you have enough for your trip, and consider setting an alarm to help you remember to take them since you’ll likely be busier than normal.
The night before you leave, focus on getting a good night’s sleep. We know that lack of sleep can make chronic pain worse, so you want to be as well-rested as possible. The morning of, eat a healthy breakfast, drink plenty of water, and head out!
Tips for pain relief on your trip
Once you’ve reached your destination, a lot will depend on where you are, who you’re with, and what your goals are for the trip. Regardless of those details, we recommend building in some time to rest. You may need a full day, or just a morning, but don’t be shy about speaking up if you need to rest while others are more active.
Here are some other tips to remember while on vacation if you experience chronic pain:
- Consider using a wheelchair. This can be hard for some people, but if using a wheelchair allows you to participate in certain activities you might not otherwise be able to enjoy, it will probably be worth it. Wheelchairs can also be helpful in situations where there is a lot of standing. Having your own place to sit can be very beneficial.
- Bring your own chair. Another option for those who don’t have access to a wheelchair is to bring your own lightweight, easy-to-carry chair. Having a place to sit even for a short break is typically better than overextending yourself with lots of standing.
- Hydration. You know you should stay hydrated, but drink even more water than you think you need. This is even more important if you’re vacationing somewhere with a very hot and/or humid climate. Dehydration can cause chronic pain conditions to flare, and headaches are common.
- Eat healthy meals. Hopefully, you stick to a mostly anti-inflammatory diet while at home, and it’s best to continue with this as much as possible. Absolutely enjoy some treats and fun meals, but choose lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy protein.
The other important thing to remember is that you should rest throughout your trip. Again, maybe everyone else goes to the pool or the beach and you stay back to take a nap. A nap on vacation is probably better than a nap at home, and in taking that break, you are doing what your body needs to enjoy your trip.