top of page

7 Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

If you suffer from chronic pain, the rigors and challenges of traveling can be brutal on the body. Sitting for long periods in a car, on a cramped plane, or sleeping in a different bed can get your body all out of sorts and uncomfortable. And who wants to be in pain on their vacation? How do you cope with pain and still enjoy your getaway?

How to travel with chronic pain

1. Get a Massage Before, During, and After to Help Your Body Adjust!

Short of packing your favorite massage therapist in your suitcase for your vacation 😉, you'll need to prepare your body for the stressful demands of traveling. Don't go into your vacation with a sore back or neck and expect it to get better. Schedule a 60/90 min massage to loosen you up and prepare you to decompress. If you can't fit in a massage before you leave, find a massage therapist where you are vacationing ahead of time and schedule a massage, a sauna, or a float! Most vacation destinations have spas with amenities that your regular massage therapist may not have. Research online and read their Google, Trip Advisor, or Yelp reviews to help you find the best massage therapist. And don't forget to schedule your massage with your regular therapist when you get home! It can help you settle in quicker and be ready to go back to work.

2. Take Your Own Travel Pillow!

Chronic neck pain is the worst, and getting a kink in your neck is not an ideal way to start your vacation. Watch this video on how to use a pillow for neck or lumbar support. You may also want to include a jacket, light scarf, or blanket when flying. Planes can be chilly, and cold air drafts irritate neck or upper shoulder trigger points. Stick-on disposable heating pads are great to travel with in addition to essential oils, such as Lavender, to help you relax.

3. Don't Forget to Pack Your Favorite Tune-up Therapy Balls or a Tennis Ball!

Tune up Therapy massage balls for pain relief

You can pull it out during your car or plane ride to massage your stiff hips, sore back, or achy neck. Even the feet! There are so many different ways to use them. Read our blog, '5 Tips for Dealing with Chronic Neck Pain' for a detailed video on how to use them for neck pain.

4. Help Relieve Chronic Pain by Getting Quality Sleep.

Research has shown lack of sleep affects your pain, and your sleep can be affected when traveling and sleeping in a different bed or transitioning to different time zones. Melatonin is a great way to help you acclimate to a different time zone and help you get your rest! A sleep time blend of essential oils could be beneficial, or as we mentioned earlier, having your pillow for extra comfort could help you get a few more 💤 so you can enjoy your vacation more.

5. Make Sure to Pack Your Analgesic Cremes or Pain Meds.

Most people will automatically pack their prescription meds when traveling, but there are healthy alternatives to dealing with chronic pain if you aren't on prescription medications.

Homeopathic arnica pellets are great for general inflammation, aches, pains, and any bruising you may develop during your vacation. **Consult your doctor before taking supplements if you are on other medications. Because of its ability to prevent blood clots, Arnica should not be taken with other medicines or herbal products that can thin the blood, like aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin, enoxaparin, apixaban, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, ginger, garlic, or ginseng, to name a few.** Arnica also comes in a gel form that is non-greasy, unscented, and quickly absorbed. Biofreeze is another option for quick pain relief from sore, achy muscles.

6. Chronic Pain is Linked to Sugar Intake and Dehydration.

Stay hydrated for chronic pain relief

While we all love to indulge while vacationing, sugar is inflammatory and can flare up joints, aches, and pains if you're not careful—the same thing with hydration. There's a direct link between dehydration and chronic pain, so traveling with a refillable water bottle can help you stay hydrated. Read more here about how dehydration increases pain perception.

7. Pack All Your Essentials in Your Carry-on Luggage if You're Flying.

Traveling these days is stressful enough, and it is common for airlines to lose luggage. Think of it as crucial as your toiletries, if not more! Imagine packing all your "essential self-care tools" to help you with your chronic pain, and your luggage is lost or sent to another destination. So give yourself a piece of mind and pack it all in your carry-on luggage.


These are just a few ideas we have used to cope with chronic pain while on vacation. Being more aware of your pain triggers and bringing things to pamper yourself with will go a long way in managing your chronic pain when traveling. Our team at Bull City Soles can customize your session to fit your needs, whether you are getting ready to go on vacation, visiting Durham, NC, or taking care of your aches and pains when you return from your travels. Schedule your massage online today. You can also pick up a couple of therapy balls, essential oils, or Biofreeze to take on your trips!

We hope this gives you some ideas on how to plan well for your getaway.🏝 🛳 🏖 What are your tips for managing chronic pain while you travel?


bottom of page