Travel and Arthritis: 6 Tips for a Pain-Free Excursion3 min read
Traveling can be exhilarating, but it’s generally physically demanding. If many young, healthy leisure globetrotters find it exhausting, people with arthritis will find lengthy road trips and extended flights even more taxing. I know this firsthand because I’ve traveled a lot with my parents, who’ve been dealing with joint inflammation since their mid-40s. I’ve seen them try every trick in the book to feel relief from arthritis pain and enjoy our precious jaunts.
After witnessing the extreme discomfort arthritis flares can cause, I’ve found many ways to reduce it. Use these travel tips to help you experience a pain-free excursion wherever you go.
1. Book everything wisely
Choosing the right kind of accommodation will reduce your anxiety. If you plan to stay at a hotel, go with an accessible one that provides a room fridge for storing your meds, has facilities for light workouts, hot and cold therapies, and offers walkers and wheelchairs on demand. Ensure your lodging is also near a pharmacy to conveniently refill your prescriptions.
Regarding your room, book one close to the elevator to move to different levels quickly. Better yet, reserve a unit on the first floor.
If you plan to rent a car, look for local companies with fleets of newer vehicles. More recent models come with features friendly to people living with arthritis. A spacious driver seat, an adjustable steering wheel, electronic windows, air conditioning and a keyless ignition will make driving easier with achy joints.
2. Mind your diet
Some foods may set off a flare, so know what you can eat depending on your type of arthritis when traveling and feasting on exotic cuisines. Consult a doctor who works with a musculoskeletal sonographer to diagnose you properly and get advice on the anti-inflammatory ingredients you should consume.
3. Carry your essentials
Put your medications, healthy snacks and liquids in small bottles, head and neck pillows, and hot and cold packs in your carry-on bag. Checked luggage may get lost in transit, so having everything you need for pain management and treatment on hand is a good idea.
If you’re going away for a while, an extra prescription may be useful. Before you leave, ask your physician for a travel supply.
4. Go with a companion
Hitting the road with someone may help you get relief from arthritis pain. A travel buddy can split driving duties with you and give you a hand with your baggage.
If you’re flying solo, let assistive devices accompany you. Travel chairs, back pillows, beaded seat covers, foldable canes, walkers and foldaway reachers are your best friends.
5. Be active
Idleness can result in stiffness, so you should move your muscles every once in a while. It’s doable whether you’re in a car, plane or train. Flex, hold your hands and arms and stretch your legs after sitting or standing for too long.
As long as it’s safe and comfortable, walk when you can. Your joints will love this low-impact exercise. Plus, it’s a terrific excuse to explore a destination and observe what life’s like there.
Before you go to bed, do yoga. In particular, Yin yoga may suit you because it helps release superficial muscle tension and develop a sense of serenity.
6. Take a breather
Rest is a significant source of relief from arthritis pain. Movement is healthy, but overdoing it may cause discomfort.
My folks usually relax before their joints begin to ache. Taking frequent breaks means they have to spend more time touring places, but they manage to get through the day without distress. You can try following their lead!
Get relief from arthritis pain on your next trip
Did you learn something new from these pieces of advice? Hopefully, you’ll find them as helpful as my parents have. Apply them when you can to keep arthritis from hindering your future trips and have safe travels.