How to Prepare for Traveling With RA
Traveling with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be uncomfortable, especially if you are experiencing a flare or joint stiffness. But as someone with a long resume full of travel with lupus (lupus and RA are similar conditions that produce joint stiffness and arthritis), I have a few travel secrets for you to ensure your journey is more comfortable.
Get Enough Sleep the Night Before
This can be extremely difficult as many people find travel nerve-wracking. In addition, your head may be in a million different places ensuring you have everything — and sometimes there is a huge sense of excitement that makes sleeping virtually impossible.
However, not getting enough sleep can be a major contributor to arthritis pain and joint stiffness. I know when I don’t get enough sleep my joints hurt quite badly, so it is important to get as much shut eye as you can before you leave so you’ll be comfortable as you can be during your journey.
Try to avoid not getting enough rest and figuring you will sleep on the way to your destination. Sometimes, this is not possible for many different reasons.
If you can fall asleep, it’s a bonus. But if you can’t and you’ve had enough sleep, you won’t be in unnecessary pain or more pain than usual.
Keep Your Medicine Somewhere You Can Get to Easily
Traveling on long haul journeys, especially through multiple time zones, can mean your medication schedule gets a little messed up. However, you should avoid using this as an excuse to skip doses.
Instead, pack it somewhere you can get to easily, such as a purse or carry on bag that will go under the seat in front of you. Take your medicine as close to the time you usually take it as possible.
You should also have pain medication in the same place in case you start to experience joint pain or feel unwell.
Stretching out is usually not easy on a plane, but sitting in one spot for so long can contribute to joint stiffness and contribute to the risk of a blood clot.
During a long flight, make sure you get up and walk the aisles at least a couple of times, stretching your limbs to ensure they’re loose and to counteract any stiffness from sitting too long.
If you’re on a train, it should be very easy to wander from car to car every so often. If you’re taking a long road trip, make sure to stop every few hours even if you don’t have to go to the bathroom. This will help you stretch your joints and muscles and avoid cramping and stiffness.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Nothing is worse than feeling restricted while sitting for a long period of time. This can especially be painful on the knee joints and hip joints, so instead of opting for jeans, wear loose-fitting pants or a longer skirt instead. This will give you a little more room to spread out, even if you don’t have a lot of space.