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5 Ways to Minimize Pain While Traveling With Rheumatoid Arthritis

5 Ways to Minimize Pain While Traveling With Rheumatoid Arthritis
(Andrey Popov/Dreamstime)

Friday, 20 July 2018 12:34 PM

Vacation is one of the most exciting times of the year for most of us, but for people with rheumatoid arthritis, traveling can mean pain, discomfort, and inflammation. Though it may be harder for those with a chronic disease to take to the skies or hit the road, it’s still possible for them to have an enjoyable vacation by following five tips on how to minimize pain.

A chronic disease that affects all of the joints in the body, rheumatoid arthritis is what Dr. Grace Wright, rheumatologist and author of several publications on rheumatology, calls a “systemic disease.”

“This is a [disease] that can affect every aspect of your life,” she tells Newsmax. “You can have joint pain, but you can also have inflammation in certain internal organs, as well.” She also notes that people living with rheumatoid arthritis often struggle with overwhelming fatigue, feeling “like they’d just run a marathon” when they wake up in the morning.

Traveling can present a slew of problems for those with rheumatoid arthritis. “When travelling by plane, car or train, you end up sitting in seats for a long time, which can cause a lot of discomfort, because all the joints get really stiff and sore,” Wright explains. Sitting in cramped conditions for an extended period of time can cause rheumatoid arthritis to flare, or worsen its symptoms.

So what can you do to make your summer vacation less stressful and pain free? Dr. Wright outlines a few simple steps that anyone can take to decrease joint stiffness and manage arthritis pain while travelling.

Move around. “It’s important to get up and walk around, massage, and move,” Wright explains, “not to just stay seated in this frozen position.” If you’re on a plane or a train, take a few minutes to move around and stretch, and if you’re driving, stop every few hours to do the same. Staying sedentary can make your joints stiffen, so it’s vital that you take some time to get them moving.

Travel light. When preparing for vacation, it can be easy to over pack your suitcase, throwing in anything you “might need.” This can make your suitcase extremely heavy, which will take its toll on your joints. “Get rid of the heavy luggage,” Wright urges. “You can check the luggage, or pack exactly what you need, so that you’re not dragging heavy items, putting extra strain on those joints.”

Talk to your doctor. Depending on the intensity of your symptoms, some trips might be more feasible than others. Before making any plans, it’s important to talk to your physician and see what kind of trip is possible for you. “A 12-hour trip is very different from a two hour one,” Wright notes.

Pack your meds. “Don’t skip your medicines — travel with them!” Wright says. “Make sure to take them as your prescribed to prevent flares while you’re on the trip.” If your rheumatoid arthritis does flare up, depending on your treatment regiment, you can also try to take pain relief medication to manage the pain and discomfort.

Drink lots of water. Sometimes, when you’re hitting the road or heading to the airport, you forget to drink your recommended daily 64 ounces of water. But as Wright explains, hydration is vital to managing joint stiffness, so make sure to pack or buy water bottles as you travel.

© 2019 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

   
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Vacation is one of the most exciting times of the year for most of us, but for people with rheumatoid arthritis, traveling can mean pain, discomfort, and inflammation.
minimize, arthritis, travel, pail
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2018-34-20
Friday, 20 July 2018 12:34 PM
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