Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

SCS and solo travel

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I had a follow-up appointment with my Dr. on Friday. As part of my job we travel to conduct audits, etc. I haven't done any travel over the past year because of my fusion and the SCS implant. During my appointment I asked my Dr. when I would be ok to going back to traveling for work. My Dr. recommended that unless I have to, that I don't travel solo. He said that while the suitcases with the wheels help, it was the turning and twisting that you have to do, etc that is the problem. He offered to write a letter to my employer to help.

Don't get me wrong, I am still very glad that I had the stimulator. Prior to getting the SCS I wouldn't have even thought about traveling for work. But I guess because I am doing so well I am ready to get back to all aspects of my job and I really enjoyed traveling and conducting audits. So his words came as somewhat of a surprise to me (and I had asked a ton of questions prior to the surgery). I don't have to worry about losing my job if I don't travel, but I will be losing out on the most interesting and challenging part of my job.

When it comes down to it I don't want to do anything that could effect the SCS and my improved condition so I will do what is needed. However, I wanted to know if any of you that have the SCS travel solo and what you do to minimize the potential suitcase lifting, twisting, etc? Is your Dr. ok with you traveling solo?


  • First thing I would do is make sure you have a medic alert bracelet, necklace etc and carry your card always.
    When Traveling alone, you never know.

    Second, my PM never gave me the impression that traveling would be an issue, but mine is cervical and my PM is an idiot (well , not really, but...)

    I'd perhaps consider all your options, using porters at the airport, requesting assistance to and between gates or anything that would lighten your load.

    Carry a laptop? Get a netbook! Every ounce would help.

    In the end it will be your choice as to what to do.

    Maybe just do one ore two trips every so often. We all travel at times, so that should not make much difference to the longevity of the leads?

    Just my thoughts, Hope your having a better day than I am...(insert whining sound here)
  • I have no clue as to why your doc would restrict solo travel. There are so many ways to compensate, it's all a matter of planning the logistics surrounding your travel.

    Since I went back to the states for my SCS trial and implant, I have traveled to and from DC and Japan several times and across the US from coast to coast several times. All of it solo and all of it with the knowledge and blessing of my NS, PM doc and company rep.

    There are many things you can do as Wrambler pointed out, that make it very easy to do, and all without having to bend, lift or twist too much if at all.

    Some of the key logistics, are as Wrambler stated, your implant ID card, a necklace or bracelet that "speaks for you" in case you can't, your charging equipment and your required medications. All airlines provide medical assistance in the form of a wheel chair, as well as carry on assistance and luggage assistance. The key to that, is requesting the assistance. A letter from your doc is good to have and make copies of, to provide to the purser when you board the aircraft. This identifies you to the staff and they will offer any assistance you require. It makes things much easier for them to know who you are and where you are seated. This can also help them plan for your boarding and disembarking.

    When checking in, there are skycaps that are available to help with your luggage. You may have to plan money for tipping them, but it is far cheaper than paying someone to travel with you.

    Minimize what you carry with you and if some things can be mailed or shipped to the location you are traveling to ahead of time and back home again, that works real well.

    Laptops are quite heavy (in the over-all scheme of things), but there are nice roller cases for them that you can fit your carry-on all into.

    So with a little bit of planning you can travel very easily without violating any bending, lifting or twisting restrictions. The only thing I recommend is take a gel ice pack with you because airline seats (even business class) tend to irritate the IPG pocket on longer flights. Also remember to wear clothing that is loose and non-restrictive in the area of your IPG. Charge your battery prior to leaving on both ends of your travel, that way you always have a full charge in case something goes amuck.

  • I really appreciate your input. Like I said, I was surprised by my Dr's comments which was why I wanted to ask some of you here. Travel isn't a constant part of my job (usually about 3 times per year for a week at a time) but one I occasionally enjoy so I am leaning towards continuing it right now. My Dr. said it was his recommendation but left it up to me and said we could discuss it at my next appointment in two weeks.

    C, your information about a letter for assistance with carry-ons on the airplane was especially helpful and the use of the skycaps is also a good idea. I am going to ask my Dr. for one. It is also a good point to charge before travel with some of the delays there are now a days.

    Wrambler, I would definately consider a netbook, but unfortunately I work for the Feds and since I have access to Medicare and SS numbers we have a ton of security software on our laptops so that isn't an option for me. However, I do have a case with wheels.

    I had read other posts on here about recommending getting a bracelet with the SCS info and I asked my Dr. and rep and they both said they weren't necessary. I am going to go ahead and get one anyway for my own peace of mind.

    If anyone else has any great traveling advice I would love to hear it and I bet it would help others.
  • I just got selected to attend some leadership training at our central office in February and I really want to attend. I see my Dr. next week and am going to try to have a travel plan all laid out so hopefully he will ok it. I used to live in this city so it would be really nice to be able to go back and see some people that I haven't seen for several years.
  • Content moved to her own thread at the request of poster. http://www.spine-health.com/forum/spinal-cord-stimulation/upcoming-scs-trial-need-input
    Authority member neck of steel (Cindy)
  • Hi Anjuan!
    I recently joined this forum and as i was attempting to post my very first thread, i inadvertently barged in on YOURS! I have NO idea how/what i did wrong 8} But in actuality it wasn't such a silly 'mistake' afterall, because I wanted to congratulate your success with your SCS and ask you how you are doing at this point - seeing that you are 2 months along.
    I will be getting my trial in 2 wks and was thrilled to find this forum with so much info on SCS's. I've gained a ton of info just by reading all the posts by members. It has put my 'anguish' at ease somewhat :*
    As i find my way around this forum a bit better, I hope to get to know more about how you are doing with your SCS. It's SO good to hear 'success' stories !
    So, hopefully you will see this and you have my best wishes!

  • It sounds as if your doctor is saying that at no time in the future does he want you to have to do the bending, twisting, lifting that traveling on airlines requires. Is that right? I have a cervical device as well and no one has left that impression and I'm just 7 weeks out. They told me to be especially careful for 8 weeks, but no restrictions beyond that. Looks like you got some good ideas from these posts. Hope you can work it out. I spend a tremendous amount of time driving with my work and I am learning that I must get out of the car and move around or that hip starts burning and aching. I'm sure the same would be true sitting on an airplane.
  • Hi all!

    I haven't been on here for a while since I have been doing so great. I think I had originally misunderstood my Dr. the first time and that he didn't want me traveling until I was further out from the procedure (he can be hard to understand sometimes because of his accent, etc). The next time I saw him I brought it up and he was fine with me traveling.

    As far as my update, I have been feeling great! I have no doubt that the SCS was the right step for me. I have been walking a lot and started a water aerobics class. I have now lost a total of 32 pds (since July). I am still on some paid meds, but it is a lot less than I used to take and I feel like they help me a lot more than they used to. At work I can concentrate a lot more since I am not in pain and then when I get home at night I still have energy left to make dinner and play with my daughter. It is wonderful!! My family has really noticed a difference in me. I saw my Dr. again last Friday as well as my rep and the Dr. said that I don't need to make follow-up appointments, but just to contact him when I need something or when I need to come in for a medication check.

    I know this next statement may be controversial on here, but he has had patients who after a time no longer need the SCS for their pain and then he has taken it out. He has said that he thinks I may be able to have mine out someday and not to think of it as permanent. The thought is nice, but I am not putting any hopes on it at this point.

    As far as issues with the SCS, because of the way my programs are set I have to charge a lot and it can be a pain. Right now I am charging around a couple of times per week. The best way for me to do it is to lay on my side watching TV. I have tried walking around with it using both the stick on patch and the strap with the pouch and I just don't get a good charge that way. But, for the benefits I get I can handle charging a couple of times per week. The other issue I had was that I actually lost my remote in a movie theatre once. Thankfully, the staff found it so I got it back the next day. I also lost it in the house once. I wish that thing had some sort of beeper on it so I could find it when lost. LOL

    Next week I am off on my first flight since the SCS so that should be interesting. I am going to take the advice above and leave plenty ahead of time.

    Good luck to anyone who is considering the SCS!
  • That is excellent news. It's great to hear you are doing so much better and things are "looking up".

    Did your doc give you any indication as to why he feels that you may not need your SCS in the future. I'm curious as to what kind of experiences he has seen or had with his patients that has convinced him of this. This is the first I have heard anyone mention something like this. I've heard and read about a person's SCS becoming less effective after a period of time, but not a cure. Does he feel that the body heals itself during the period of time the SCS is controlling the pain?

    Isn't it cool to get to where you aren't having to schedule appointments all the time! I think it's awesome!

    Fantastic to hear you are doing so much better.

  • This is all so great! Wonderful that you are doing so well.

    I am scared to travel alone, mainly because I never did when I was healthy, so why start now? lol I mentioned it to hubby a few months back and his eyes popped out of his head just imagining it. lol He would prefer to go with me, so I will just plan farther ahead so he can get off work.

    On the charging, my favorite program for over 6 months required me to charge every 2 to 3 days. Drove me nuts! Then I went in to get tweaked and my new program feels super strong yet I can go at least 2.5 weeks before charging. Amazes me!

    I do not know my terminology, but they found a program where they turned it down as far as my NS will allow, which I believe is 30? I apologize that I simply do not know or understand all the terms - is this amplitude, pulse width? I have no idea. But it is a deep, strong buzzing and I love it!! (And I learned one reason he won't let patients have more control over their settings is that they might turn it down lower than 30, and he strongly believes this can lead to major muscle spasms and therefore, falls. Interesting.)

    Thanks so much for the update! Congrats on the weight loss! I, too, lost over 20lbs myself within months of the implant. Yahoo!

  • How great to see an update from you and get the clarification on the travel! I'm so glad to read that you are doing so well. Good luck with your travel. I flew 5 weeks after my permanent SCS was implanted and my sweet husband did all the work associated with carrying the bags and lifting. I just had to sit still on the plane, which was hard, but I have never sat still very well even before my surgery. I had no problems at the airport in Charlotte, NC or in Chicago. Had to submit to the pat down, but it wasn't terrible. I was told to not only avoid the security gate, but also the wand. Just showed my little card and explained and they were great.
    Good luck to you!
Sign In or Register to comment.