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My Tips for a Road Trip With Chronic Pain and Disabilities


This weekend I have the privilege to go visit my uncle in Indianapolis. Being sick, I do not get the chance to travel often, especially not on a road trip. I am so excited, but I know it will be a long, hard trip for me. Don’t you hate that feeling — being excited about something but not being able to fully enjoy it because what type of pain you’re likely to endure because of it? The pain can overshadow the excitement you want to feel.

The trip to Indianapolis is less than three hours long, but three hours in a car in pain is rough and it means packing a whole lot of stuff. I have to pack my wheelchair, my cane, my walker (just in case), my shower chair, my pillows and lots of comfortable clothing. Oh and let’s not forget all my medications. Sometimes when I do have to travel, whether it be for doctors or for pleasure, I wonder if the trip is worth all of the pain and hassle that comes with it. But to me it is — it’s worth new memories and seeing family and friends, sightseeing on the beautiful country roads and jamming in the car to music.

To make traveling easier, take your time. Leave earlier if you have to. That way you allow for breaks and stops to take medicine or stretch your legs and back. Also do not push yourself; have fun but rest as well. Put extra pillows in the car. You can even buy a heating pad that will plug into your car to help with your pain. Pack a cooler and put extra ice packs in there to help with your headaches. I always take my eye patch and extra sunglasses in case the sun is too bright. Look up area hospitals because let’s be realistic, we just might need it. Set an alarm to take your medicine. Lastly, start packing days before so you can take all the time you need. Worry about the pain later and enjoy yourself. I know I will!

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Thinkstock photo by Noel Hendrickson.