Vacations are a time to unwind and have fun, but getting to your destination may be less than relaxing if you have chronic pain. It can lead to agitation and discomfort, making you want to crawl under the covers instead of soaking up the sun. Follow these five tips for traveling with chronic pain so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. 

1. Book a Longer Trip

Booking a longer trip allows more time for your vacation after traveling. Plus, who doesn’t want more time on a trip? It may be challenging to jump back in the car or plane to head home after a couple of days packed with activity. 

An extended trip allows more time to rest after long, adventurous days. Traveling for hours after snorkeling or hiking the day before can be challenging. Allow some days for pure relaxation and your body will thank you.  

2. Bring Pain Relief Medications 

Plan the amount of medication you will need on your trip. You can even pack extra doses in case something happens to one. You don’t want to be worried about finding necessary medicine in an unfamiliar place. 

Check the prescription medication laws for your destination if you are traveling internationally. Taking certain medicines to other countries could get you into trouble. You will need to get a doctor’s letter along with your name on the prescription. And be sure to travel with medications in their original bottles.  

3. Bring Ice Packs

Ice packs can reduce swelling and inflammation by numbing the affected area and lessening discomfort. Ice can make a huge difference when sitting in the car traveling to your destination. 

Ice is best for sprains, strains, new injuries, pulled muscles and bruises. Store them in your hotel’s mini-fridge so you can use them on your way back home. Be careful going through TSA with the ice packs—if they’re not fully frozen and go over your liquid limit they may be at risk for disposal as you go through security.

4. Choose Comfort Over Style

Dressing appropriately can make a huge difference, whether your pain is in your feet or other places. Traveling can put a lot of stress on your body, so wearing light and comfortable clothing will help you feel more relaxed during the trip. 

Wearing proper footwear is vital. Pick something that will support your feet and put less stress on other areas of the body. Consider where you are going and what shoes are best for that environment. You may have to do some unexpected walking while traveling, so it is best to be prepared with proper shoes. 

5. Get a Good Night’s Rest

The excitement of your trip may keep you up at night, but sleeping well is crucial to good health. Not getting enough sleep can help worsen pain levels and irritation the next day. 

You can even catch up on sleep while you are traveling. Pack a neck pillow for extra comfort while driving or flying. It can help you rest comfortably while traveling and ease your pain. If you have difficulty sleeping away from home, consider using an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Don’t Let Pain Ruin Your Trip 

Chronic pain can be frustrating, but you can still travel if you take the right steps to minimize discomfort. Enjoy your trip without pain holding you back. Being prepared and staying healthy will help you in the long run and enable you to live life to the fullest.


About The Author

Mia Barnes is a health and wellness freelance writer with a passion for providing safe, healthy, and practical travel and lifestyle tips. Mia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, an online healthy living publication.

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