Camping with chronic pain/illnesses

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
I'm a genetic and hormone chronic migraine sufferer. I was just wondering if there were any other campers on the site who suffer from chronic pain or illness?
Perhaps we could share tips on how we deal with our issues when we're away from home.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
I was getting headaches constantly for a while. When I went camping, I made sure I had a full day for travelling (no leaving after work). That way if a headache hit, I could sit it out for a while and not worry about not making it to the campground.

I have torn cartilage in my knees and found that too long in a seat would cause an ache that made me want to kick my legs out. So for that, I would take 1/2 a norco before sitting. I did it on a 10 hour flight and it worked great. And it worked for driving too.

I also found that for my knees, if I was going walking a lot, I would take a couple tylenol BEFORE the walk. That helped minimize the ache afterwards.

The best thing I did was go to a Pain Mgmt Specialist. He electrocutes my neck to stop the headaches and I am pain free for six months. He gave my knees a lube job and that has stopped the sharp pain that prevented me from casual hiking. The ache now only hits when I'm on a plane for hours so I use the last of my norco for that.

While camping, I just stopped feeling guilty if I was in pain. I realized that my trip was meant for relaxation, so if I just slept or read the entire time, I was fine with it.

If you need darkness, get black out curtains for your camper. If the pain prevents you from set up, consider a TT that you don't have to set up and take down.
 

GreyFox

Super Active Member
Oct 10, 2018
2,447
S Ontario
In my 70s now and for but one exception 6 yrs ago that required emergency abdominal surgery I've never had any issues of consequence all my life. I should have known it was only a matter of time but 5 months ago, Dec 13/18 to be exact, my ears suddenly began "ringing" - or in my case a high frequency squealing. You guessed it - tinnitus - a horrible condition for which there is no cure. :( I've had 2 MRIs, countless visits with my own family doctor whom I've known for 40 yrs, ENT appointments, hearing tests, an endless series of prescription meds to see if any of them would help in any way, herbal medications, vitamins, visits to a dietician, even an assessment by my BIL dentist who specializes and lectures on TMJ as it relates to tinnitus - all to no avail. My only hope now is an appointment scheduled for late July with an ENT and associate professor who specializes in neurotolgoy, the study of nerve function in the ear canal. In the meantime I did invest in a sound therapy program called Sound Options which is intended to train the brain to not pay so much attention and thus allow me to ignore the squealing but so far, listening to these processed files 2 hrs each day, I can't say it's yet done much for me.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,540
Albuquerque, NM
The main reason we moved from our popup to a small TT just before I turned 60 was my bad back, and other issues. Had back surgery since, but I have lots of osteo arthritis and cranky joints, asthma (I have to hide from wood smoke, pleurisy 4 years ago left me with some related damage too), degenerative disks in neck and back, multiple foot issues, etc. etc. Thankful that my migraines have vastly decreased since earlier years. I had a massive infection last year, involving sinus, ears (both eardrums ruptured) and bones in my head, which resulted in vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus. My hearing has mostly returned, the vertigo is much better, and the tinnitus has improved (I still use a Lectrofan at night), so I'm feeling blessed. My stamina is not what it was. I'm working on improving my balance, and I just have times when I stagger or otherwise still feel the after-effects. OTOH, the TT allows me to get out camping, with a nice retreat when I need it. I'm learning that I can handle some situations better than others - driving and camping are pretty good. Walmart and Costco, large crowds, noisy locations, not so easy.
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
I've worked with people who sufferer from migraines, I know from then how debilitating it can be. Does being out camping in the fresh air lessen the migraines for you?

With them being mostly genetic and hormonal, no. Weather can be a trigger as well. I'm careful about some foods/additives (nitrates ect). The nice thing about having a tent trailer now is I can be more comfortable if I have to lay down, put the sleep mask on for darkness and my earplugs in for sound. I wish the fresh air and such was a cure, but sometimes even the sunshine hurts.
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
The main reason we moved from our popup to a small TT just before I turned 60 was my bad back, and other issues. Had back surgery since, but I have lots of osteo arthritis and cranky joints, asthma (I have to hide from wood smoke, pleurisy 4 years ago left me with some related damage too), degenerative disks in neck and back, multiple foot issues, etc. etc. Thankful that my migraines have vastly decreased since earlier years. I had a massive infection last year, involving sinus, ears (both eardrums ruptured) and bones in my head, which resulted in vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus. My hearing has mostly returned, the vertigo is much better, and the tinnitus has improved (I still use a Lectrofan at night), so I'm feeling blessed. My stamina is not what it was. I'm working on improving my balance, and I just have times when I stagger or otherwise still feel the after-effects. OTOH, the TT allows me to get out camping, with a nice retreat when I need it. I'm learning that I can handle some situations better than others - driving and camping are pretty good. Walmart and Costco, large crowds, noisy locations, not so easy.

It's nice when we can upgrade for easier camping with age. I know our PUP will help my husband who is a residential painter and played football when he was younger so arthritis, joint pain and such is kicking in. I'm sorry you've suffered from so much.
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
In my 70s now and for but one exception 6 yrs ago that required emergency abdominal surgery I've never had any issues of consequence all my life. I should have known it was only a matter of time but 5 months ago, Dec 13/18 to be exact, my ears suddenly began "ringing" - or in my case a high frequency squealing. You guessed it - tinnitus - a horrible condition for which there is no cure. :( I've had 2 MRIs, countless visits with my own family doctor whom I've known for 40 yrs, ENT appointments, hearing tests, an endless series of prescription meds to see if any of them would help in any way, herbal medications, vitamins, visits to a dietician, even an assessment by my BIL dentist who specializes and lectures on TMJ as it relates to tinnitus - all to no avail. My only hope now is an appointment scheduled for late July with an ENT and associate professor who specializes in neurotolgoy, the study of nerve function in the ear canal. In the meantime I did invest in a sound therapy program called Sound Options which is intended to train the brain to not pay so much attention and thus allow me to ignore the squealing but so far, listening to these processed files 2 hrs each day, I can't say it's yet done much for me.

Wow! I have it from time to time, likely due to my migraines. Does white noise help at all? I began sleeping with a fan when it first started.
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
I was getting headaches constantly for a while. When I went camping, I made sure I had a full day for travelling (no leaving after work). That way if a headache hit, I could sit it out for a while and not worry about not making it to the campground.

I have torn cartilage in my knees and found that too long in a seat would cause an ache that made me want to kick my legs out. So for that, I would take 1/2 a norco before sitting. I did it on a 10 hour flight and it worked great. And it worked for driving too.

I also found that for my knees, if I was going walking a lot, I would take a couple tylenol BEFORE the walk. That helped minimize the ache afterwards.

The best thing I did was go to a Pain Mgmt Specialist. He electrocutes my neck to stop the headaches and I am pain free for six months. He gave my knees a lube job and that has stopped the sharp pain that prevented me from casual hiking. The ache now only hits when I'm on a plane for hours so I use the last of my norco for that.

While camping, I just stopped feeling guilty if I was in pain. I realized that my trip was meant for relaxation, so if I just slept or read the entire time, I was fine with it.

If you need darkness, get black out curtains for your camper. If the pain prevents you from set up, consider a TT that you don't have to set up and take down.

My hubby does the physical stuff. Plus we have 2 teen boys that can help. (we have a daughter too but she has moved out and is engaged.) We only plan on keeping this PUP for a couple of years and then hopefully we'll upgrade to a new mechanical one.
That's how we feel about camping. If I can't go on a more vigorous hike, there is no pressure to. My family is good about letting me set the pace of my days. It's about all of us getting away and relaxing together anyway. It doesn't matter what we do, as long as we're together. My activity is just based on my pain level at the time.
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
I know for the migraines there is new medication that just hit the market, ill try to find out the name. Someone at work has the same issues, and it helps her a lot.


I've heard of a new one. I'm in Canada. No sure how long it will take before it's available here. I've tried 19 meds both over the counter and prescription, both situational and preventative. And other things as well.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,376
Northern Virginia
ringing" - or in my case a high frequency squealing. You guessed it - tinnitus - a horrible condition for which there is no cure. :( '
. I'm a suffer of tinnitus myself. Had it since I was a child due to way too many ear infections. It sounds like a TV or Radio that's not tuned in correctly. Constant, annoying static. Thankfully I've had it for so long it's not as dibilitating for me. White noise is a great help for me especially when going to bed. I Just put my white noise on timer as I find the white noise wakes me up later. Pretty crazy though considering it puts me to sleep with no problem. I have white noise app on my phone to help when I camp, but camp noises usually do a great job in itself. I can't have it quiet though, I have to have some noise to cover the noise in my head. I have learned I cannot use ear buds no matter what, it makes the noise worse for me and causes pain. I can use headphones but keep it turned down very very low and have to take it off the first sign of a difference. I've learned how to live with it and learned what I can and cannot do. Hopefully you find what works for you. If you find anything that helps, keep me in mind, I've given up hope of ever being able to hear a conversation without certain
Words blending in with the "static".
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,540
Albuquerque, NM
I have to admit I'm happy to just keep camping and exploring - it may not be the same as it was 20 years ago, but, oh well.. I know lots of folks with far more limitations, so much as I might wish for mine to go away, I'll take what I have and be thankful we've recovered as well as we have from illnesses and injuries.

I tested the Lectrofan in the Goal Zero Yeti 150 that we use to power some things in camp, since we disconnected the USB ports for a couple of reasons. It ran all night on not much power, it left somewhere between 80 and 100% (the indicator isn't exact) of capacity. This has worked well both for my tinnitus, and just in general for the two of us when we don't have white noise from a fan or humidifier. (Our house backs up to a fairly main road.) We can choose between fan and white noise options, and varying volume. We figure it may be helpful at the KOA on our overnight stops on the next trip, we know Memorial Day weekend tends to be not the most quiet. We sometimes run the a/c fan, but it's likely to be too chilly for that.
 

GreyFox

Super Active Member
Oct 10, 2018
2,447
S Ontario
Wow! I have it from time to time, likely due to my migraines. Does white noise help at all? I began sleeping with a fan when it first started.

I understand that some who do have tinnitus only suffer periodically from it but in my case it's 24/7. About the only way I can sleep is by running a fan for some white noise along with a rainfall loop playing on the computer. My doctor has me on Amitriptyline to help me sleep but I find the only thing that really knocks me out is Lorazepam, the problem being it's really habit forming so I can only take it every few days. More than anything I'm mostly stunned being told there's "no cure" for tinnitus yet we have the ability to transplant hearts, lungs, kidneys, etc.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
The best thing I found for sleep is Belsomra. It doesn't make me lethargic in the morning. I fall asleep quickly. I 'm not dead to the world and may wake up in the night, but quickly fall back asleep. And I can take it as late as 2 or 3 in the morning without problems. I get the 20mg pills, but only take 1/2, so I can take a second have if needed. After having severe sleep deprivation with anxiety and panic attacks, it has made a huge difference. I always bring some with me camping. And it isn't habit forming or addictive.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,752
Virginia
Deal w/ pain daily, mainly w/ govt. issued Tylenol & Voltaren, stronger stuff if I need it, compliments of the VA, happy as hay the stuff is free...both knees are blown, need a right hip, got a new shoulder 3 years ago, split hip to hip & a badminton net to hold the innards in place, L5 is shot, my ears ring like the Bells of St Mary's, & I'm dang nigh almost 2" shorter than I used to be, much of it due to free falling from a chopper at night on one of Uncle Sammy's "magic carpet rides" many years ago...that being said, I'm grateful to still be able to do some stuff I enjoy doing, albeit at a much slower pace...be 66 my next b day, & refuse to allow myself to slow down for fear of freezing up, & plan to continue to tent camp at least a couple times this year; mantra has always been if you can't run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl, if you can't crawl, then roll...I feel for those who suffer far worse than I, just don't ever give up & find something each day to be thankful for...
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
I understand that some who do have tinnitus only suffer periodically from it but in my case it's 24/7. About the only way I can sleep is by running a fan for some white noise along with a rainfall loop playing on the computer. My doctor has me on Amitriptyline to help me sleep but I find the only thing that really knocks me out is Lorazepam, the problem being it's really habit forming so I can only take it every few days. More than anything I'm mostly stunned being told there's "no cure" for tinnitus yet we have the ability to transplant hearts, lungs, kidneys, etc.

I am so sorry :( I'm glad there are a few things that can help you at least cope. Is it sometimes worse and sometimes better?
 

KeatesCamping

Member
May 14, 2019
44
Ontario, Canada
Deal w/ pain daily, mainly w/ govt. issued Tylenol & Voltaren, stronger stuff if I need it, compliments of the VA, happy as hay the stuff is free...both knees are blown, need a right hip, got a new shoulder 3 years ago, split hip to hip & a badminton net to hold the innards in place, L5 is shot, my ears ring like the Bells of St Mary's, & I'm dang nigh almost 2" shorter than I used to be, much of it due to free falling from a chopper at night on one of Uncle Sammy's "magic carpet rides" many years ago...that being said, I'm grateful to still be able to do some stuff I enjoy doing, albeit at a much slower pace...be 66 my next b day, & refuse to allow myself to slow down for fear of freezing up, & plan to continue to tent camp at least a couple times this year; mantra has always been if you can't run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl, if you can't crawl, then roll...I feel for those who suffer far worse than I, just don't ever give up & find something each day to be thankful for...

I am in awe! Truly.
Do you have access to cannabis salve where you are? I have it and it's wonderful for muscle/joint/arthritis ect pains. I use it on the back of my neck and pressure points when I have certain types of migraines.
It's so great that you refuse to let it slow you down because it's true that your body would just start freezing up and it would be hard to do almost anything. Without even being injured I feel it if a migraine has me down for days at a time. You get stiff and sore and it makes you want to just stay in place which makes it worse.
 




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