Tags: rheumatoid arthritis | traveling tips

5 Tips for Traveling With Arthritis

5 Tips for Traveling With Arthritis
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By    |   Saturday, 26 May 2018 03:18 PM

Now that Memorial Day is here, vacation planning season is in full swing. Road trips, flights and train rides usually mean new destinations and adventures, but for people with rheumatoid arthritis, travelling can also mean pain, discomfort, and inflammation.

The good news is that while it may be harder for those with a chronic disease to take to the skies or hit the road, it's still possible for people to have an exciting summer vacation.

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, calls a "systemic disease."

"This is a [disease] that can affect every aspect of your life," Wright tells Newsmax Health. "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.

And travelling can present a whole set 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 Memorial Day and 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. Remaining 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 the 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 prescribed to prevent flares while you're on the trip." If your rheumatoid arthritis does flare up, depending on your treatment regimen, 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.

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Now that Memorial Day is here, vacation planning season is in full swing. Road trips, flights and train rides usually mean new destinations and adventures, but for people with rheumatoid arthritis, travelling can also mean pain, discomfort, and inflammation. The good news is...
rheumatoid arthritis, traveling tips
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2018-18-26
Saturday, 26 May 2018 03:18 PM
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