Nothing beats the hug of a grandchild, or the warmth of family and friends brought together. But, traveling at the holidays is no easy feat – made more difficult if you are in pain. While holiday travel will never be completely pain-free, there are some things you can do to add more enjoyment to the family visit.
Before you pack your suitcase and head out the door, do some planning.
- If you are staying with a friend or relative, ask in advance about your sleeping, bathing or other arrangements. Know if there are stairs you have to navigate. Request a heater or additional pillows be available. While you may not want to “be a bother,” understand that, if they haven’t seen you in a while, they might not know the extent of your pain. Asking before the hype of the holidays kicks in can help everyone have an enjoyable visit.
- Know what resources exist if you are traveling by air, train or bus. If you have difficulty walking, or require accommodation for medicines or medical devices, contact the point of destination (airport, train station) or transportation company (airline, bus company) and understand what resources are available to you. Many airports have wheelchairs and trams available to get you where you need to be. The TSA also has information on air travel accommodations.
- Know what you will need to keep you in the most comfort, but pack as lightly as you can to keep the bulk and weight of your luggage to a minimum.
- Consider purchasing a lumbar pillow or neck pillow to help support your back and/or neck through a long journey. Or bring an extra blanket or jacket that can be used as support.
- Cold and heat can help soothe aches. For air travel, consider a cooling towel that can be soaked in cold water once you are past security and reinvigorated throughout the flight. Thermacare offers a variety of heat wraps that are easily transportable
As you leave
- Wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing to allow you the most opportunity to stretch and change positions in route.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get through traffic or security. The added stress of hurrying could cause you to not pay as close attention and you might aggravate your pain.
On your way
- Move around as much as possible. If traveling by car, make frequent stops. If by air, train or bus, get up and walk up and down the aisle. While seated flex your feet regularly. Move your neck from side to side. And, generally pay attention to your posture.
- Ask for help when lifting heavy bags. If you’re on your own, be sure to lift from your knees, not your back.
- Stay hydrated, but keep alcohol use to a minimum. Muscles are made up of a lot of water and water will help keep your muscles from tightening. If traveling via air, bring a water bottle to fill after you have passed through security.
Wherever your travels may take you, from our family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, pain-free Thanksgiving.