Going on Holiday As a Person With Chronic Pain

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In 2017, our national campaign “My Pain Feels Like” featured research that showed 49% of people with persistent or chronic pain find travelling or going on holiday difficult because of their pain.

“Persistent pain has a serious impact on people’s lives and wellbeing. It requires an ongoing and evolving treatment plan that helps people move away from a persistent pain cycle – allowing them to enjoy things like travelling and holidays.”

– Dr Paul Murphy, Consultant in Pain Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin
Statistics on chronic pain and travelling

Just over half of those researched discussed their pain with a healthcare professional once a year or more. Almost 1 in 5 claim to never discuss their pain with a healthcare professional.

According to the research, headaches (55%) and lower back pain (51%) are the most common types of pain, with over half of those with persistent pain having experienced either condition.

    • 52 percent of people living with persistent pain always take their medicine as instructed
    • 33 percent take their medication, but then stop when the pain eases
    • 49 percent have not had their treatment or medication reviewed in the past year
    • Just over 4 in 10 of those surveyed said the car is their preferred mode of transport when travelling to help manage their pain
    • 40 percent do not take any additional steps before travelling to ensure that their trip is not negatively affected by their pain, 24 percent take extra medication 
    • Just 17 percent pack light and lift their luggage in stages
    • 35 percent use a neck support when travelling to try and manage their pain


“Engaging in an active management plan can help patients reduce pain symptoms, improve mood and increase function. It is also crucial that people comply with any treatment prescribed by their care team to help manage their pain – be it medication, exercises or other treatment options like mindfulness and relaxation practices.”

– Dr Paul Murphy, Consultant in Pain Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin
. . .
Steps to help you maximise your time with your GP
1. Know your pain when talking to your healthcare professional
2. Use the 12 pain images to help you describe what your pain feels like

3. Make a list of your medications and include all other activities you do to manage your pain e.g. yoga, mindfulness etc.
4. Ask yourself questions about your pain, such as; 

    • What makes it better or worse? 
    • Is it there all the time? 
    • What activities do you have to stop because of your pain?

5. Don’t forget to tell your doctor if you are going away so you can plan your treatment together

This national campaign was a collaboration between Grünenthal Pharma Ltd and Chronic Pain Ireland, supported by The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland. It aimed to raise awareness of pain and support patients when communicating with healthcare professionals.

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