6 Tips for Traveling With Arthritis

Almost a quarter of all American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Travelling can be a challenge when stiffness, soreness, and pain set in, but you can still enjoy visiting friends and family or travel for professional reasons. It’s all in how you plan for your trip.

At Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center, with offices in Orange and Laguna, California, Dr. Behnam Kahleghi can help you manage your arthritis symptoms and make the right arrangements before you travel. 

Medications

Staying on your medication regimen is vital to manage your symptoms. 

1. Before you travel

Tell Dr. Khaleghi before you go on a trip so he can make sure you have all the medications you need, plus a prescription in case you lose your medications or are late returning due to travel-related delays. Keep medications in your purse or carry-on bag. A doctors note may be required to get through the airport if any of your medicines are injectable.

2. Wear medical ID

A MedicAlert bracelet is advisable if you are taking any corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications. If you are traveling by car, you might also want to consider getting a seat belt medical alert ID with documentation you’ve filled out. These explain your medical condition, what medications you take, what you’re allergic to, and what your functional limitations are to any first responders who might not be able to get this information from you in case of an accident.

3. Remember time zones 

For certain common arthritis drugs like prednisone, it’s important not to miss a dose. Carry a separate watch with alarms set for your meds so you don’t go extra hours between doses. If you are on a long trip, gradually shift your dosage times if needed. Long-acting arthritis drugs are different; if you miss a dose or are a few hours late, you can simply pick up again at the regular time the next day.

Mobility

Travel can make all of your arthritis symptoms flare-up.

1. Ask for help

Take advantage of assistance like wheelchairs or motorized escorts through the airport, and ask for last onboarding and first off deplaning. This can help reduce the amount of time you are strapped in a cramped airline seat. Consider paying the extra to book a seat with extra legroom, or flying at a higher class.

2. Keep moving

Get up as often as possible to stretch and move around. If you are on a plane, just a quick walk up and down the aisle can help. If you’re driving, stop every one to two hours and take a quick walk around the car and do some stretches to stay flexible.

3. Book Mindfully

When booking hotel rooms, think about your mobility and ask about amenities like ground-level floors, assistive equipped bathrooms, and doors with hand levers instead of doorknobs. Take advantage of perks like a heated pool or a massage to help work out stiffness and reduce pain. 

By following these tips, you can make your trip as pain-free and enjoyable as possible. Call our office if you are having breakthrough arthritis pain or are planning a trip, or book an appointment online. 

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