Shelly Carnevale, FNP-BC has some tips to help manage your chronic pain during your summer travels.
Summer typically means vacations or weekend getaways. For those with chronic pain, this may be avoided. However, there are some things to help prevent pain exacerbations while you travel.
In the car, don’t forget the simple tips like sitting upright, knees higher than your hips, and a rolled towel to support your lumbar arch. Ice can be your best friend in the car and by adding a cooler with ice packs for your trip, you can easily swap out the ice packs during a long drive.
Of course, it’s important to get out and take rest breaks, so don’t forget to check out some of the stops along your way before you leave home. It’s more enjoyable to stretch your legs at an attraction as opposed to a gas station. You’ll be more compliant to stick to a rest schedule instead of pushing yourself ahead to get to the final destination and then paying the price for sitting too long.
If softer mattresses trigger your pain, contact your hotel ahead of time. There are many chains that offer boards to place under the mattress that make the bed firmer, which is typically better for those with back pain. Take advantage of the fitness facilities when you can as walking on the treadmill even slowly can loosen those arthritic joints.
Trains might be a better option for those of you with neck and back pain, given that you can take time from sitting by walking around or resting in the lounge. Having someone else drive also prevents a great deal of neck strain as you are not looking over your shoulder and likely less tense.
For those with headaches, don’t forget the window shade for your car and wear your sunglasses. Perhaps you already have this in your arsenal, but have you considered checking your air conditioner before the trip? Outside air entering the cabin, along with fungus, can trigger headaches.
Finally, always try to ride in the front seats of the vehicle. If you’re the driver, then put your hands at the top of the wheel as this is less strain on the neck muscles.