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How to Travel With Chronic Pain

Updated on December 29, 2013

Chronic pain is a type of pain that persists for a period of 6 months or more. It is a long term pain and one that does not go away immediately and stays beyond the normal healing time. The pain can be very severe or light, continuous or come in episodes, and can be an easy task to deal with or perhaps one that can be tough to manage. Unlike acute pain, which does not persist for such long periods, chronic pain can be the deciding factor on how people go about their lives, and this is exactly what is going to be discussed in the article.


Not only can chronic pain prevent people from working and cause a feeling of hopelessness, but it can also prevent them from travelling. While travelling to other countries for recreation can be avoided while having chronic pain, there are often circumstances that require a person to travel to other places no matter what. Examples of these circumstances are either the death of a relative or a marriage of a close family member. To be able to travel and attend important events that cannot be avoided, there are some very effective tips listed below that would ensure that people can travel while experiencing chronic pain and not let the pain be the decider. Here they are:

1. Do not Rush
A lot of people rush and try to get everything done before they leave for someplace. This leads to the preparation for the trip being completed only a day or two before the actual trip is made. To avoid rushing, try to delegate activities that are not as important and can be performed by other people as well. For example, a business meeting with a client that is not very important can be handed over to the secretary. Also, an individual should try to put some activities on hold. Complete these after returning from the trip. Rushing should be avoided simply because it disrupts the daily routine of people. People that perform exercise or yoga every day are not able to do so if they rush. Therefore, avoid rushing and try to boost the duration of healing activities to obtain high level of productivity.

2. Be Relaxed
One of the most important tips to tackle a trip when faced with chronic pain is to start it off by being relaxed. That is, before leaving for the trip, try to get a massage or perform whatever healing activity that is preferred. This helps lessen the pain and induces calm/patience to handle the situations that lie ahead with a better mind.

3. Plan Ahead
The key to travel with chronic pain is to not indulge in activities that trigger it. Therefore, try to plan ahead, ideally for up to a day ahead, and complete all the activities of that day before hand. This would ensure that undue stress is not taken. Also the people on medication should try and get these medicines before the trip is made, so that once at the destination, there is no need to purchase the medication again. Trying to get the required medication from another country or city can be quite a tedious task too.

In addition, one should perform the tasks that the pain does not warrant to be performed. For example, if the trip is made with a group that loves to walk, try to travel more by public transport. Remember that if the pain returns during the trip then the whole trip could be spent in agony.

4. Do not Carry Heavy Luggage
While travelling, a lot of people carry large and heavy bags that are packed with all sorts of things. However, remember that when faced with chronic pain, it is best to avoid carrying these bags. Even bags that have rollers have to be lifted sometimes to cater for curbs and footpaths. Whenever required, do ask for help and do not feel shy or embarrassed to do so. It is better to ask somebody for help than to increase the intensity of the pain. Also, there is nothing wrong with asking someone for help, especially when there is a genuine reason for it.

5. Stick to the Priorities
People with chronic pain often have priorities such as having special diets or stretching. Therefore, do not let anything come in between these. For example, when driving, stop the car on the side and stretch before the pain comes again. While inside the plane during a long flight, make sure to stand up for a while and just walk up and down the aisles. The respective individuals should also void foods that are not a part of their regular diet no matter how tempting they seem.

While it is hard to deal with chronic pain, sitting at home and doing nothing else would make the situation even worse. Therefore, try to enjoy life and do not let the pain take control.

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