Tips To Manage Arthritis Pain While Travelling
- Missing or skipping a dose of medicines can trigger joint pain.
- Keeping our stress under control while traveling is essential for good health.
- Experts suggest that repositioning yourself and stretching at least every 30 minutes can keep you moving easily.
- Heat bags conveniently ease your back or other joints from aching.
- Aquatic therapy focuses on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.
Traveling. A word that sparks adrenaline. But for those with arthritis, the idea of traveling or spending time on vacation creates stress and discomfort.
Arthritis, sometimes known as my-joints-pain-too-much, is a severe condition that causes swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. Not only that, but the key symptoms of arthritis – joint pain and stiffness - worsen as you age.
And because arthritis causes many challenges while traveling, here are some tips to manage arthritis while traveling.
Traveling with arthritis
Here are some must-try tips and tricks if you or a loved one with arthritis are planning an upcoming trip.
Plan well and in advance
Make a complete run-through of your trip – transport, stays, food etc. Note the times when you need to take exemplary care of yourself, starting from the time you leave your house.
- Keep your prescriptions handy.
- Pack accordingly to your condition (neck pillow, knee braces, etc.)
- Carry massage oils or ointments.
- Carry some homemade or feel-good snacks.
Put first things first
Make it a priority to sort and pack the essentials first. These essentials include regular/essential medicines and necessary types of equipment.
Most arthritis patients prefer traveling with splints, compression gloves and socks, heat and ice patches, or special pillows to support their neck or lumbar spine.
Keeping a heat bag handy is a convenient way to keep your back or other joints from aching. Get your hands on a portable heat bag. Trust us when we say that it will make your travel a comfortable experience.
To be on the safe side, create your own arthritis kit. Include everything and anything that will help you to keep the pain away while traveling. Remember, pack smart!
1. Medicines: a travel buddy
While traveling or on vacation, we tend to get caught up in all the new stuff happening around us. We are all aware that it can negatively affect our daily routine. And in all this hassle, we forget about our medications.
Missing or skipping a dose, or completely forgetting about medicines can ruin the whole trip. Hence, it becomes very, very necessary to prioritize your medicines. See to it that you follow your prescriptions and your daily dosages.
Carry your doctor’s prescriptions along just in case you need to get new medicines on your trip. If your medicines need to be refrigerated, ask for or see to it that you get a cooler to store them.
And if things go south, give yourself extra time to fix them.
Remember, one missed dose can cause the trip to trip.
2. Dive into the warmth
Aquatic therapy, also commonly known as hydrotherapy, is a special type of therapy that involves performing some kind of physical exercise in a warm-water pool.
The temperature of the pool is generally 33-36oC – warmer than usual swimming pools.
Keep in mind that aquatic therapy is very different from aqua aerobics. It is entirely focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.
Hydrotherapy plays a very important role when it comes to arthritis. A doctor may even recommend hydrotherapy after joint replacement surgery, or when one has arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Now the question arises, how can one access hydrotherapy while traveling? Check with the hotel you're staying in if it can be made available, or if it's nearby.
Hydrotherapy can be a very helpful way to keep your joints healthy while traveling.
3. An oily massage
An oil massage can help you reduce joint pain while traveling. A few essential oils can help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in some studies, but they are
not a substitute for conventional treatments. Nevertheless, we can say that an oil massage will relieve tension in your joints and put you at ease.
These days, you don’t have to worry about finding a suitable massage parlor. Wherever you are, the majority of the chances are that you will find a massage parlor nearby. Consider adding oil massage to your to-do list.
4. Eating the Mediterranean way
One way to keep arthritis in check while traveling is through an anti-inflammatory diet. What this type of diet does is reduce the chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, along with other types of inflammatory arthritis.
You might have heard of the very popular Mediterranean diet. It doesn’t matter which anti-inflammatory diet you follow; they all encourage the same thing – eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids.
An anti-inflammatory diet helps as inflammation is at the root of arthritis pain. In addition to age being an influential factor, it causes metabolic changes and makes people prone to inflammation.
Therefore, follow an anti-inflammatory diet and have a happy and safe journey.
5. Every so often, stretch
Stretch, and then stretch some more. While traveling, we usually forget the magic a good stretch can do. Stretching once in a while or frequently will help avoid a flare-up. Stretching helps maintain the range of motion in your joints. It always makes you feel energized and lifts your mood.
Keep your body moving between your travels by performing some stretching exercises. It also breaks the pattern of too much inactivity that traveling causes. Experts suggest that repositioning yourself and stretching at least every 30 minutes can keep you moving easily.
Working out daily while traveling can be a difficult task. This is where stretching comes into play. Remember, small stretches can go a long way.
6. What does your body say?
Always listen to what your body is telling you. Always.
Often, when we travel, we forget how our bodies are struggling because we are so engrossed in ourselves. Thus, it becomes necessary to figure out what’s okay and what’s not.
Be aware of your limits - the things that can cause trouble when taken to the extreme.
Hence, the only way to enjoy your trip fully is to take care of your body.
Ever thought arthritis could affect traveling so much? But now you know what changes and precautions can you take to make your trip a fun and happy one.
Share these tips with your loved ones with arthritis to help make their next travel experience better.
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- Al-Qubaeissy KY, et al. The effectiveness of hydrotherapy in the management of rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Musculoskeletal Care. 2013 Mar;11(1):3-18.
- Evers AW, et al. Does stress affect the joints? Daily stressors, stress vulnerability, immune and HPA axis activity, and short-term disease and symptom fluctuations in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Sep;73(9):1683-8.
- Vadell AKE, et al. Anti-inflammatory Diet In Rheumatoid Arthritis (ADIRA)-a randomized, controlled crossover trial indicating effects on disease activity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Jun 1;111(6):1203-1213.
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