Preparing for Road Trips with RA
Travelling is stressful enough on its own, but add rheumatoid arthritis to the equation and things can seem downright impossible.
However, road trips with RA don't have to be especially challenging if you know exactly what to do and how to prepare for your trip.
Be Kind to Yourself
This may sound silly, but hear me out. Being kind to yourself means not expecting too much of yourself if you are tired or in pain.
If you need to sleep during half of the trip, do it. If you know riding in the car is going to wear you out, don’t plan to go out to dinner with friends at your destination when you get there. And if you can’t make it to the plans you’ve made because you’re too tired for travelling, don’t get angry with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Don’t Take On Too Much Driving
If you’re driving in shifts, make sure the other person (or people) know not to ask you to take on too much of the driving. If you feel up to it, by all means, take on as much driving as you feel up to. But if you start to feel sluggish or that your joints are hurting, make sure someone in the car is aware and can take over for you.
Don’t push yourself to drive if you’re not feeling well, as this can make things worse for you and can potentially be dangerous for yourself, those in the car and others on the road.
When I go on long road trips, I am absolutely not above making a nest for myself as a grown up. This is especially helpful for aching hip or shoulder joints.
You can do this by sitting on pillows or placing pillows around yourself. Don’t forget to cover up with a blanket if it is cold out. You can even bring a duvet if it is snowing outside or if the cold is extra harsh. If you’re not driving, this allows you to doze off, which is especially helpful if you’re feeling fatigued.
Remember, though, that even if you cushion your joints with pillows, your seatbelt still needs to be on you properly at all times.
Take Your Medication
Don’t wait for the pain to set in when you’re travelling. Instead, be proactive and take the pain medication before you hit the road. This way, you won’t be sitting in discomfort for a long time waiting for it to kick in.
On the same note, pack your medication where you can easily get to it. If you’re going away for a long trip or with a lot of people, sometimes there is a tendency to pack the car to the hilt, making it difficult to find things in transit. Make sure you know where your medicine is at all times so you avoid this issue.