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7 Tips for Enjoying Summer Activities With Chronic Pain

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Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Summer is associated with adventures and going out of your comfort zone and having fun with friends and family. For people who are relatively healthy, it may be easy to live a fast-paced life during the summer and not have to take breaks between trips. Some people are just go, go, go and it can be hard as a person with chronic pain to keep up with them.

I personally adore theme parks. I will always love Disney World more than any other theme park, but I love them all anyway. It’s been difficult for me over the years to be able to keep up with my friends and family at theme parks because of my fibromyalgia and chronic migraines, as I know it can be difficult for other people as well. Even going to the beach for an hour can cause a nasty migraine for me and it’s been a long process trying to figure out how to alleviate some of my symptoms. I have seven tips that have helped me that I think could benefit others as well.

1. Hydrate. I know everyone is always saying this, but it definitely helps. Your body is mostly water and with all the running around in the sun, you need to replenish yourself. This has helped me a ton with my headaches and general pain. I am obsessed with cute water bottles – the cuter they are, the more likely I am to carry them!

2. Take some good pain meds before you start feeling the pain. You don’t want to wait until you’re in pain to take pain medication. Preventing pain is a lot easier than chasing it down. Don’t take any pain medications that make you dizzy, but take enough to where you can be comfortable for a few hours at least. Keep some with you as well, but don’t take too many at once.

3. Wear comfy shoes! I know it’s summer and everyone wants to wear super cute strappy sandals but most of the time, those cute sandals are not too comfy. Flat shoes in general just aren’t a good idea (at least for me) for foot pain. I generally like a good pair of tennis shoes and will sometimes put gel inserts in those. If you’re still super attached to the sandal look, or you just want better shoes for the beach, Skechers has quite a few comfy pairs of cute sandals! Bobs also has some pretty cute memory foam shoes that are great for running around.

4. If you’re going into a theme park, bring a super comfortable change of clothes. For me personally, I will go to a theme park in jean shorts and a cute shirt and as the day goes on and my pain level increases, find that the jean shorts themselves are making me feel like my skin is on fire or being poked with needles. To alleviate this, I always have a nice soft pair of leggings and an oversized (but still cute) shirt in my backpack to change into. LuLaRoe has the softest leggings and they have some pretty amazing patterns! I have some Minnie Mouse ones that I love to throw in my Disney bag.

5. Take it slow. Or whatever your pace may be. Sometimes we can get so excited about our summer activities (whether it be Disney, camping, going to the beach or traveling around the world) that we forget to take things slow and pay attention to our body and how we are doing. It’s easy to get carried away in the fun of the day and just keep going without giving yourself a second thought. By the end of the day, you’re in an unimaginable amount of pain and it can feel like nothing will fix it. If you’re on a trip, this can seriously prevent you from enjoy the next day or so because of the pain you’re in. It’s always good to remember to take things slow.

6. Avoid any food triggers. One of the best parts of summer is the food, am I right? Some people with chronic pain, however, can have certain foods that actually trigger a pain response and can make their current pain worse than what it would’ve been. For my brother, peanut butter is one of those foods. I personally have’t paid too much attention and looked into what food(s) could be triggering pain, but if you know of any foods that can trigger pain for you, try to avoid them. Even if they’re yummy (sorry!). I know it sucks, but your body will thank you.

7. Take breaks. For me, this is super important and I didn’t actually start doing this until pretty recently. I always get so excited when we go to Disney that the only times I would sit down would be when I was eating or when I was on a ride. The rest of the time, I was on my feet finding the next thing I wanted to do. My last couple of trips to Disney were a lot different. I took my time and really just enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. I enjoyed just being there and took time to sit down with my fiancé and just talk and be there with each other and take a break from being on our feet. It made a huge difference in how our trip went. We both were in a lot less pain leaving the park than we normally are and it made the drive home so much better and we were in better moods than we have been in the past when driving home. This applies to any summer activity though. Even if you’re visiting another country, it is totally OK to have a lazy day in your hotel room or to just go sit at a coffee shop and relax for a bit. It’s totally worth it and will make your summer fun way more enjoyable.

I hope these tips have been helpful!

Photo by Eunice Stahl on Unsplash

Originally published: August 8, 2018
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