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Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain

Posted on Nov 22nd 2022

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Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain

The prospect of traveling when you suffer from chronic pain can be daunting. Chronic pain can make everyday tasks extremely uncomfortable and stressful, and travel often brings its own set of stressors and physical challenges. At the same time, missing out on travel plans to see family members and friends around the holidays can be equally painful. Keep these tips in mind as you make holiday travel plans.

1. Give Yourself Time to Prepare

Completing your packing list and pre-travel purchases will make all the difference in how comfortable your trip can be. Start packing and planning early so you can fill any gaps you discover as you go. Do you have refills of your prescriptions? A travel pillow? Heating pads? Be sure to pack at least two pairs of comfortable shoes and layered clothing that will allow you to move around easily.

2. Book Your Flight Early

Book your flights as far in advance as you can. Booking in advance may allow you to select your seat depending on the airline, so you can choose larger seats or roomier spaces. Sitting near the front of the plane can make boarding and deplaning easier. If you can afford to do so, booking in business or first class will guarantee you a roomier seat.

Hand holding passports with plane tickets inside at an airport.

3. Consider a Wheelchair

Depending on the details of your chronic pain, consider requesting a wheelchair at the airport. A wheelchair may help you conserve energy and get from point A to point B with as little stress as possible.

4. Arrive Early

Whether or not you choose the wheelchair route, arrive at the airport early. Give yourself time to get through security and to your gate-rushing through the airport can be exhausting and stressful. Plus, it’s always better to have extra waiting time at your gate. Depending on how often you travel, consider applying for TSA Precheck, which allows you to go through security without removing your shoes or taking anything out of your bag. It may seem like a small difference, but keeping your shoes on and your bag zipped up can drastically improve the security process.

5. Check Your Luggage

Set aside a small carry-on with your medications and the things you need to be comfortable and entertained on the flight, plus essentials in case your luggage is lost or delayed. Then, check all other bags, even if it’s a small wheel-aboard that will fit in the overhead compartment. Moving through the airport is much easier without extra luggage weighing you down, which can help preserve energy and prevent pain from flaring up.

Couple pushing luggage cart with two suitcases stacked on it at the airport.

6. Keep Moving

If you arrive at your gate early, try going on a slow walk or completing gentle stretches to keep your blood flowing and pain at bay. If your flight is longer than a couple of hours, try to stand up and walk up and down the aisle a couple of times. This can help prevent joints from stiffening as you experience multiple changes in pressure.

7. Stay Hydrated

Whether traveling by plane or car, hydration is key to feeling your best. Changes in the environment mean you may need more water than you’re used to, and dehydration can cause headaches and chronic pain flare-ups.

8. Explore Long–term Solutions

Before your trip, explore the possibility of long-term solutions for your chronic pain. Chronic Care of Richmond is a leader in natural medicine, leveraging the body's healing properties to address chronic pain. By addressing the root of the pain, Chronic Care of Richmond can help create long-term solutions. With highly researched therapies, Chronic Care of Richmond helps those suffering from chronic pain to find relief. Request a consultation today!

Couple holding hands walking on the beach.