April 8, 2011
It's Flying Time Again
Ray Charles, please forgive me for stealing your line, well almost: "It's crying time again." Simply stated, flying often causes additional pain, stress, and tears to those who have facial pain. The pressure changes in the cabin, the noise of the plane and its passengers, and the stress created by airport security issues seem to be enough to give a healthy person a headache. If you're reading this blog, chances are you experience pain that defies definition.
The causes of facial pain vary from one individual to another, and often the cause or diagnosis is difficult to pinpoint. If you have concerns about flying exacerbating your pain, a discussion with your physician or health care practitioner may be beneficial.
Some physicians will recommend that their patients clear their sinuses with a decongestant before flying. They may prescribe medication to help deal with the noise, stress, or other issues related to being a passenger on aircraft.
Because some individuals pain is triggered by noise, two products worth mentioning are Earplanes, earplugs that are made specifically for flying. You can find them online, drug stores, and airport shops. Another option more expensive: noise cancelling earphones or headsets. Although these tools can be helpful, passengers are asked to refrain from using them until the flight instructions have been given and the plane has begun it's flight. They must also be removed just before the end of the journey so information from the flight crew will be heard. You may want to check with the airline to find the current policy is about when the acoustic headphones can and cannot be used.
For those of us whose pain is caused by the jaw or neck, a tiny pillow to give added support can help quite a bit. It's one more thing to carry, but the number of these items are often limited on the plane. Unless one is flying business class, a pillow may not be available.
Fear of flying embraces a new meaning for those who have experienced trigeminal neuralgia, TMJD, or other types of facial pain. Have you heard the expression of living on a wing and a prayer. I think it really fits this situation. How about you?
Happy traveling. May your journey be full of the Lord's mercies.
Have you read With Great Mercy?