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Going on Holiday? Top Tips to Manage Pain when Flying

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Going on Holiday? Top Tips to Manage Pain when Flying

Whether you have a chronic pain condition or an acute injury the last thing you want when going away is to have your pain get in the way! Follow these simple steps to ensure you have the most comfortable journey!


Before you travel

1. When booking your holiday be aware of the length and the time of your flight.

Note the length of the flight to ensure you have the right amount of medication in your hand luggage. If you are travelling on a long flight, and live a long distance from the airport it may be worth staying in a hotel the night before to break the journey into shorter chunks.

Plan the time of your flight to coincide with your own daily pattern of pain; for example, if you know that you are usually very stiff in the morning, then avoid booking a very early flight.

2. Speak to both your GP and the airline prior to travel.

Your GP can ensure you have the correct amount of medication for your trip and give you extra advice to help you to self-manage your condition. You can also get a letter from your GP outlining your specific requirements for the airline.

With advanced notice the airline can provide you with wheelchair assistance and early boarding, if necessary. They may also have airline personnel who can help you to carry your luggage and lift it into the overhead locker for you.

3. Book an aisle seat or a seat with extra leg room to give you space to do some exercises and to make it easier to get up and move around during the flight.


During the flight

  1. Practice good posture in your seat.Ask the cabin crew for something (pillows, blankets) to prop up your feet and keep your knees at a right angle. Sit right back in the chair with a pillow or lumbar support behind your lower back to support your spine. If you have neck pain it may be beneficial to invest in a neck pillow for your flight.
  1. Take over-the-counter pain medicationas required to provide relief during the flight. Take it one hour before your flight to give it time to get into your system.
  1. Move Move Move!
  • Get up and walk around every 30-60 minutes if possible
    • Raise and lower your toes while keeping your heels on the ground. Also do the opposite by raising and lowering your heels while your toes stay on the ground.
    • Stretch your back, legs and neck regularly during the flight to increase blood flow and reduce tension and pain

Self-massage – Take a small tennis ball or dog ball with you! Put this behind your back when sitting in your seat and push back into the ball. Focus on any tight or tender spots to work out the knots in your back.

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