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Tips for flying
#263438 01/16/14 07:09 AM
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Hi. I have never been to New York and would love to travel there this year. For me it is a 20 hour flight. I havent flown for 5 years and the thought absolutely terrifies me in terms of being extremely uncomfortable/painful in a confined space without being able to stretch, lie on the floor etc. I would appreciate any suggestions/methods to cope with flying.

Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263445 01/16/14 03:20 PM
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wow, star. i cannot imagine a 20 hour flight anywhere. i am about done with a 2 hour flight.

the main thing i would do is buy business/first class tickets. the seats are so much different and there are only two on each side and they don't think you are a bad guy if you want to get up and walk. the flight staff does not want anyone in the steerage class to get up and walk around. i really despise flying. a friend of mine was taking a vaca and just bit the bullet and paid for the upgrade. it is also better if you are very tall.

there is almost nothing else i could recommend. if there were any way to break up the flight, stopping in a location for a couple of days, then crossing the pond, or the pacific, whichever, is helpful.

others will chime in about those gel pillows etc. but i have never found anything that really helps. personal experience alone. i take trains whenever possible. and most of my family is now on a north/south train access.

sorry star. i wish you luck for this trip. i would go into debt to do that, tho, never know when you will get another chance.

blessings on figuring it out.

sequoia

Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263450 01/16/14 05:08 PM
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I've done that length flying time, and the only thing that gets me through it is to start a short course of prednisolone a couple of days before, and keep it going for a week or so. I don't know about the tapering dosepaks, but I usually just take the straight prednisolone at a starting dose of 20 mg for a couple of days, then reducing to 15 mg a day for the rest of the course, then stopping without a further taper (as long as I haven't been on it for more than two weeks, after which time you would need to taper).

Apart from that - drink lots of water, get up frequently and walk back and forwards down the aisle, do what stretches you can standing at each end of the walk (typically in the slightly more open area by the toilets), and keep a watch or other timekeeper set to your home time zone so you can work out how often you can take your pain meds during the flight. I also usually carry some additional meds, like 2mg diazepam, and have one of those squishy microbead pillows that I can sit on, put behind my back or neck, or even rest my arm on (if the seat arm gets a bit hard)

Sequoia, I think plane crews are far more relaxed about people getting up and walking round these days, as they know it helps avoid DVTs. Also some of the long distance airlines (like Air New Zealand) are really geared up for long distance flying and encourage people doing stretching exercises, drinking water rather than alcohol, and moving around, as well as having things like the "skycouch" available in economy class, plus having better leg room than short haul planes usually do.


Cauda equina type neurogenic bladder problems. Coeliac disease. Sicca syndrome. Ataxic gait and use crutches. Non-specific gut problems. Current treatment: Low dose naltrexone, low starch diet (Guts shredded by NSAIDs. Previously diclofenac worked well, not eligible for anti-tnfs, hypersensitivity to SSZ). Also short bursts of pred for bad flares
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263455 01/16/14 06:10 PM
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When I went on my honeymoon (in the middle of switching meds btw), I took lots of meds with me to get me through the flight. I talked to my doctor about it and discussed that I would be traveling for over 20 hours straight. He prescribed Klonopin and Nucynta ER to get me through it all.

Needless to say, our first two days of our honeymoon was spent in the villa with me recovering from all the travel. Not very fun. Luckily we had a week there (Tahiti), so I got a good 5 days of beautiful beaches and the ocean.

I would say talk to your doc first and ask for meds. Then plan recovery time into your trip.


22 years old. Female. Diagnosed with AS in June of 2013 but experienced symptoms for two years prior. Fused SI joints, fused L5-S1. Love and own 4 horses who keep me walking and riding around despite the pain. Married to a wonderful man, and struggling to deal with this chronic illness while being a newlywed and starting my first desk job.
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263467 01/16/14 08:49 PM
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Like luckypony, if I had to take a trip that long on airplanes, I'd just have to medicate heavily. For me, getting up and walking around a little, etc. would only provide minimal, and temporary, relief. But you should definitely give it everything you've got! I would bring my heating pad too, but don't know if they'd want me to use it. It's a really good one & might short out the whole cabin wink


Jen, 42, happy partner of James and Moma to Evan, 14, & Lucy, 12.5 (Crohn's dx @ age 3; on Remicade since April 2010.) I take piroxicam, Flexeril, & Nucynta ER nightly. 3 anti-TNFs didn't pan out for me.

"Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance." -- Hippocrates
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263473 01/16/14 10:09 PM
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I definitely couldn't handle such a long flight! Just a few hours is bad enough. The only thing that helped some, besides what others mentioned, is menthol back patches (Absorbine brand for me). The continuous cooling, penetrating aid helped with the pain I get in my SI joints from sitting for very long.


Amy

27 years old
AS diagnosis 2013; neck pain for seven or eight years, and spreading multiple-joint pain for about two years
Also: Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's, hypoglycemia, Raynaud's phenomenon
Meds: Remicade, Norco (10-325 mg), Gabapentin, allergy shots, Prozac, Synthroid (25-50 mcg)
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263480 01/16/14 10:56 PM
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Never flew 20 hours direct, but two back to back that equaled over 20 hours. There was only 1.5 hour between but believe me I walked the whole time.

Are you getting any treatment?

I don't start the low dose pred until after I had a nap, and reached the final destination. I do try to change hours a couple days ahead so that I am sleepy when I get on plane. Eat dinner, and then take either pain med or sleep med. I drink a lot of water (ok one glass on wine) so that I wake up having to go. I walk a bit, use bathroom and then try to sleep again. I like window side because I can switch positions more than aisle seat. By leaning on wall, it gives me more room and changes to position. People will trip over aisle if you stick your feet out, waking you up and maybe hurting them.

I also use the blanket to put under hips, and change SI and hip and lumber spine into different positions.

First class is very very expensive on those long flights but if you have points, sometimes there is a middle upgrade.

NYC is wonderful, enjoy. Ann


Actema IV once a month (with pre loading for allergic reaction), Cymbalta x1 daily, Arava 20mg daily. Diagnosed with AS in 2004, suffered undiagnosed since 1982.
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263484 01/16/14 11:13 PM
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There are no commercial 20 hour flights, so you must be stopping along the way. Wherever you stop, use that time to walk and stretch. I take a few long haul flights each year, and there is no doubt that they are taxing. A few things that help,

-make sure you have an aisle seat, don't get stuck in the middle on the 777s, 747s or A380s that have four seats across in the middle
-use a neck brace if you tend to have neck pain and stiffness. This helps immensely.
- get up to use the restroom often
-stretch your legs and arms while in your seat
-drink plenty of water
-sleep
-do some neck rolls and stretches while in your seat.
-certain airlines are known for more space. Avoid US airlines when flying to or from Asia or Europe. Many non-US carriers have more leg room. There are exceptions to this, of course.

Good luck!


41 y/o female, diagnosed RA 2009, sacroiliitis, peripheral arthritis, most major joints involved, HLA-B27- but suspect AS or spondylitis, Raynaud's, GERD, currently taking Orencia sub-Q, Mtx via injection, citalopram, omeprazole, tramadol, Cyclobenzaprine.


2012 - diagnosed with colitis and iritis and seronegative arthritis.

Failed - Enbrel (stopped working after 10 months), Humira (no effect) and Remicade (failed after two years).
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263518 01/17/14 02:39 PM
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Yes, what tropical island says, except I like the window, hard to get out of but I can lean my head on the wall. That is personal, just remember they often have 4 across seats on those big planes.


She is esp right about flying foreign airlines, I forgot about that. We never fly US if we can help it, overseas. Better food, more room and much better movies (really good foreign ones).

Anna


Actema IV once a month (with pre loading for allergic reaction), Cymbalta x1 daily, Arava 20mg daily. Diagnosed with AS in 2004, suffered undiagnosed since 1982.
Re: Tips for flying
imastar #263519 01/17/14 03:37 PM
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Some additional tips:

1. Try to get an exit row seat. Those typically have more leg room.

2. Minimize the amount of baggage you need to put under the seat in front of you. Just having a few extra inchese to reposition your feet helps significantly.

3. I haven't tried this, but it's an idea: airplanes have microwaves. Perhaps you could bring one of those heating pads that you heat up, and request the flight attendant to warm it up for you occasionally.

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