Travel Tips for Chronic Pain & Post Replacement Surgery

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Planning on some trips this summer? Traveling with chronic pain from an illness or following shoulder, elbow, hip or knee replacement can pose some issues, though they’re far from insurmountable. With a little bit of advance planning and communication, you can start checking items off of your bucket list.

Stock Up

Do you have any prescription medications or take supplements regularly? Have them refilled and stock up on the over the counter items you use to feel good on a daily basis. The last thing you want is to show up at your final destination only to discover you’re about to run out of the drugs that help manage your fibromyalgia pain. It may require talking with your doctor’s office to explain the reason behind needing the extra doses, but it’s worth the extra effort.

Alternative Modes of Travel

If you’ve recently had your knee or other joint replaced, you may not be cleared yet for travel by plane. If you are, it’s important to make sure you’re stretching and moving around during the flight to prevent stiffness. Walking around the plane during the flight can also help prevent blood clots from forming, though your surgeon may also suggest taking blood thinners for air travel. This may be the perfect time to consider alternatives, such as trains or road trips. Depending on where you’re going, there are many lovely options through Amtrak and similar services to enjoy. You have more flexibility in how you move your body and there are fewer restrictions due to safety concerns and turbulence. The lack of altitude means fewer issues, too.

Invest In Shoes & Sleep

You’re likely going to spend nearly all of your vacation either in your shoes or asleep. Given that assumption, it’s a smart idea to invest a little bit extra in these vacation items. No one cares if your supportive flats don’t watch your Disneyland getup. As for sleeping arrangements, it might be necessary to pack your own pillow to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Bring an eye mask and earplugs or headphones to really round out the vacation sleep experience. Ideally, you’re not cramming your days so full that you have to get up at the crack of dawn.


Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. Sign up for our beta and newsletter today.

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