The reason for the trip is twofold. I want to bring Jerri to the Nordik Spa as a little reward for all she has done for me in the last couple of months. She certainly doesn't expect a reward of any kind but she definitely deserves it. I too can use the heat, and water at this spa for pain relief. The last time I was there I really felt great afterward and certainly felt good during.
The second reason is I want a little trip to visit my sister, Mary. I am not sure when I will be able to do that again. There won't be any pressure to go, go, go, as Mary "gets it" more than most. She too lives with a chronic condition and has slowed her life down to a pace of grace.
Jerri, Mary and I get to have some girl time before Jerri gets back to the big city again.
We have been talking about it all week but wanted to make sure it was a good idea., we have some things to put in place.
Here's my check list for car travel, some of it is common sense but for those who are new to pain there maybe some tips you can use.
1. Bring a full sized pillow
2. A towel
3. Make sure you pack extra or breakthrough medication
4. Heating pad
5. Ice pack
7. Tens/ Ems machine
8. Switch seats, do drive for a while
9. Stop often to stretch
10. Books on tape, meditation etc.
The use of a pillow can help in a recline position, I use a memory foam pillow that fits around my body comfortably wherever I need it. When in a recline position I use something to elevate my feet.
Using a towel rolled under your upper legs can adjust your spine so that it fits more comfortably against the seat. Play with it and you will see the pressure comes off the low back and tail bone.
Travel, different bed, and doing different things can cause more pain. Be prepared by having extra medication in case you need it.
Alternating ice and heat is a great way to settle down a flare up so it is best to have both on hand.
Voltarin is my Analgesic Creams, Rub or Spray of choice at the moment but I have used them all. They all seem to work for a limited time, so I switch them around. Do not use on areas with open wounds or skin irritations.
Another one I have had some success with is called Capsaicin. It is particularly helpful with nerve pain, however repeated use is needed to feel relief.
According to the Mayo Clinic website:
Capsaicin (kap-SAY-ih-sin) causes the burning sensation you associate with chili peppers. Capsaicin creams deplete your nerve cells of a chemical that's important for sending pain messages.
The machine I have purchased is a dual Tens/EMS. It helps stimulate the muscles and bring endorphins to the area. That is the short description however my article on alternative medicine will include a more comprehensive description.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received from my physiotherapist was to drive and not always be the passenger. One thing I have noticed with friends, family and myself included is we defer to the passenger seat fairly regularly. He asked me to drive at least part of the way and I did. It does really help. I'm not saying to drive when your pain is high, that's obviously dangerous however you can start out driving and see how it goes. One of the reasons it helps is you are not as stationary while driving. You are also focussed on the driving and not your pain while in the driver's seat.
Get out of the car to stretch is a given we all should do that but in our quest to just get there we often bypass this step and keep going. Watch you posture as well. Check in with those shoulders and make sure you are not wearing them as earrings.
Finally, and most importantly. Mediate, read, listen to music.
Enjoy the trip and even it it costs a couple of days in bed when you get back, having fun is worth it!