How can I travel with minimal crippling?
July 1, 2007 1:09 PM   Subscribe

I need to be able to travel without waddling/limping or taking mega-doses of ibuprofen...

Although only in my mid-twenties, I have chronic joint pain (likely fibromyalgia). At home I've organized myself to minimize the problem (heating pads, ice packs, yoga, special shoes, a cornucopia of painkillers and muscle relaxants, and my much-loved memory-foam mattress), but none of this helps when I'm away (airplane, cottage, hotel, staying with friends) and I can't bring the whole package with me. The main problem is back, hip, and ankle pain, which makes it hard for me to see the sites or concentrate on business.

What products and/or strategies should I not leave home without?
posted by sarahkeebs to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're probably already treating yourself with stretching and mild aerobic exercise, right?

You could try elastic band exercises. You can buy them from most health/fitness/workout stores. They travel well; just roll them up - they take about as much space as a pair or two of socks.
posted by porpoise at 1:58 PM on July 1, 2007

Forgive me if this seems tangential, but this may be right to the heart of the problem. Fibro is common in individuals with low T3 levels. Has your doctor checked your thyroid levels, specifically T3? You may also find that supplementing with chondroitin and omega 3s help.

If that's not an avenue to pursue, I'd say find at least three things that help the most. Pillow? Shoes? Ice packs?
posted by vers at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2007

Don't leave home without Aleve and a cane, or canes, and good shoes. Seriously, when away from home, your first effort should be to minimize injury to yourself, while maximizing mobility. If you are in pain, and have to walk, it is quite easy to start favoring whatever part of you is most painful, further aggravating your body, and compromising your balance. Canes or walking sticks can prevent loss of balance and falls. Good shoes can also be major weapons in the fight to avoid falls. And for me, Aleve just works a lot better than ibuprofen.
posted by paulsc at 4:34 PM on July 1, 2007

I started getting really bad pains in my right hip. I saw a local osteopath who was highly, highly recommended (not sure how I was able to see him; these days he has something like a 3 month waiting list). After a 15 minute session, he took a look at my joint or whatever and said, "OH yeah, I know exactly what's wrong with you" did some kind of adjustment, told me if I didn't stretch every day I'd have arthritis in 10 years (that was 3 years ago, so time is ticking) and sent me on my way. After that I climbed the great wall of China (a few [3-6] hours hiking maybe) without pain or discomfort.

So, see an osteopath. I think they're the ones who know about this suff.

I assume you've also seen a physical therapist as well? They can be really great as well. My posture is lousy, and my day job as a programmer doesn't help at all. The two times I went to specialists to help with my problem it was very successful.

More long term, Tai Chi may be worth looking into, if you can find an instructor who can ease you into it gently. Yoga's great for flexibility and strengthening, but Qi Gong (only anecdotately, but still) may be able to help with healing your body.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2007

For places when you can't plug in your heating pad, get those Thermacare packs. They're not cheap, but they work really well.
posted by radioamy at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2007

Oh also, is there some sort of memory-foam pad you can bring with you on trips?
posted by radioamy at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2007

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