If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), you know travel can be a challenge. But it doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home!
With the following pro tips, and proper RA management, the best of travel is there for you.
Quick Facts About RA
- RA, disease of the auto-immune system commonly affecting joints in fingers, wrists, ankles, knees and joints. It is a chronic condition, meaning it can “flare” or recede.
- Over a million people in the U.S.are diagnosed with RA, predominately women. It is most commonly detected in the prime travel years, between the ages of 40-60.
- Curiously, RA is symmetrical; it affects joints on both sides of the body. With pain or stiffness in your right knee or ankle, chances are you’ll feel it in on your left side, too.
- With treatment and self-care, traveling with RA is very manageable. So, pack your bags and book that adventure. An RA diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t see the world!
Managing RA When Traveling
For solid advice, we turn to the experts in the video below.
Dr. Grace C. Wright, a noted Rheumatologist and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine.
With her is Maria an RA patient, sharing her experiences as a traveler with RA. Maria has built a successful company and active lifestyle and wishes to be presented by first name only.
5 Top Tips for Travelers with RA
- Stay hydrated! Make sure you have a water bottle handy at all times, especially in dry conditions (such as long flights).
- Get comfy! Use a neck pillow, stretch out, get up and move around in a plane or train as soon as it is safe to do so. Frequent rest stops while driving long distances will help keep stiffness at bay.
- Rx: plenty of rest. A good sleep routine is very important! Time changes can disrupt your sleep patterns, so use the first few days to get into a good sleep rhythm.
- Balance exercise and rest. In addition to a good night’s sleep, be sure to balance rest and exercise. It’s easy, when traveling, to push onward to that next shop, the next museum. Schedule rest periods during the day, to help manage joint inflammation when walking.
- Warm/cold therapies. As Maria notes in the interviews, a warm soak can work wonders when traveling. Heat, or massage, will serve to reduce minor inflammation. Cold therapies such as an ice bag, will help relieve more acute pain and inflammation.
The Upshot: RA? So what?
Choose your destination and safe travels!
© 2018 Jane Trombley