Jun 14, 2017

Live Well: Travel Tips for Arthritis Patients


It’s summer, which means vacation season is in full swing! Whether you prefer international travel, cruises, beaches, or National Parks, there are many places to see and many things to do. As you plan your next adventure, one thing you don’t want to deal with is arthritis pain. If this is one of your concerns, we have good news: discomfort from your disease doesn’t have to hold you back! By taking some precautions and changing up your travel style, you’ll be able to do more, see more, and be more all summer long! Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Make a list of all your medications.

This is especially important if you take multiple medications to manage your disease. Always keep your medications in your carry-on (because lost luggage is a real risk) and get a note from your doctor if you’re worried about raising red flags while going through security. You should also keep your doctor’s contact information while you’re on the road. If you need a refill or lose an important medication, he or she can call in a prescription to the local pharmacy so you don’t miss a dosage.

Pay attention to shifting time zones.

Many patients take the same medications at the same time every day. If you’re traveling to another part of the country or overseas, the time zone will change. Do your best to stay on or close to the schedule you keep at home. If you do have to modify your schedule, try to do it gradually, working your way to a more convenient time slowly.

Call ahead for accessibility options.

If you have trouble walking, require a wheelchair, or use a cane, you’ll want to make sure the places you are visiting and planning to stay can accommodate your needs. While most places in America are ADA compliant, that isn’t always the case abroad. Know your limits and be sure to have alternative plans in case something is more difficult than you thought.

Keep your body moving.

Long car rides, trans-Atlantic passages, cross-country flights—there is a lot of sitting around while getting from point A to point B. Unfortunately, sitting for long periods of time can cause blood clots, even in perfectly healthy people! For arthritis patients, sitting can result in a stiff and sore body, which is no way to spend your vacation. Make sure you get up to stretch at regular intervals, and set a timer if necessary.

Give yourself a day to recover.

After your trip, try to plan a “recovery” day before you go back to work or jump back into your routine. Although vacations are relaxing and renewing, travel can be stressful and exhausting, and acclimating back to home life takes energy, too! A recovery day will allow you to rest, recover, and settle back in. It will also give you time to restock your fridge and wash your clothes, which will make that post-vacation let down easier to bear.

We hope these tips help you enjoy your vacation so you can keep the adventures coming. If you have any questions, contact Carolina Arthritis Associates before, during, or after your tip—we’re always happy to help!