Managing Your Condition While Traveling
Know What You Need
When you have arthritis, traveling presents its share of challenges. Fortunately, they don’t have to ruin your travel plans if you take a few precautionary measures. For example, will you need extra legroom to avoid worsening pain and inflammation when traveling by plane? Perhaps you need to use a wheelchair in the airport and have a handicapped-accessible room available to you when you check into a hotel. The needs will vary by person but having a good idea of the types of accommodations you need can make the trip go smoother from the start.
Pack Items to Control Temperature
The pain and stiffness of arthritis typically responds well to hot or cold therapy. That means it’s a good idea to bring items such as a portable heat pack, topical cream and heat wraps. If traveling by car, using a water bottle for a cold pack works well. Hotels with a hot tub, pool or sauna can not only be relaxing but also therapeutic.
Pack Food Ahead of Time
The constant snacking and restaurant food consumed during travel can also cause your symptoms to flare up more. If you’re traveling by car, be sure to pack healthy food alternatives to help control your symptoms. Fruits and vegetables are an especially good choice since they contain anti-inflammatory properties. Low-fat dairy options such as string cheese or yogurt can be good alternatives as well. Nuts are yet another good and portable choice.
The rules for transporting food are stricter when you’re flying to your destination. Be sure to check the TSA restriction list online before boarding your plane to avoid having food items you counted on having available confiscated from you. TSA generally prohibits the transport of any liquids unless the total amount is three ounces or less and they’re in a clear plastic container.
Know Your Rest Stops
When mapping your driving route, be sure you know where the rest stops are and take advantage of them as often as you can. This will prevent your joints from becoming too tight. When flying, reserving a first-class seat or opting for an aisle seat if you must fly coach can give you more legroom and prevent discomfort.
Ask Questions to Know What to Expect
If you think you will need assistance at the airport, request this as far in advance as possible. Additionally, find out if the hotel has accessible rooms with things such as walk-in showers before you reserve a room. Traveling with at least one other person can help reduce your stress as well.
See a Rheumatologist Before Your Trip
If you’re a current patient with Arthritis Center of Lexington and struggling to make your travel arthritis-friendly, make sure to contact your current provider. If you are not a current patient but are interested in pursuing care with us, contact your current PCP for a referral and call us today.