Steps to take when traveling if you suffer from osteoarthritis
Travel is an activity that allows us to discover new places, cultures and experiences. However, for people suffering from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disorder that causes pain and limited movement, travel can present special challenges.
Despite these obstacles, with good planning and the adoption of some specific strategies, safe and enjoyable travel is possible. Here are five essential tips for traveling with osteoarthritis to maximize the experience.
1. Careful travel planning:
Planning is key when traveling with osteoarthritis. Here are some important considerations:
Destination and accommodations: Choose a destination that is suitable for your needs. Research hotels or accommodation options that offer accessible facilities and services for people with reduced mobility, such as adapted rooms, ramps and elevators. Also, check if the destination has a climate that is comfortable for your joints.
Transportation: If you are traveling by plane, train or bus, communicate your mobility needs to the transportation company staff in advance. This will enable them to provide you with the necessary assistance, such as wheelchairs or priority access. If you are traveling in your own car, consider making regular stops to stretch your legs and reduce joint stiffness.
Medications and documentation: Make sure you carry enough medication for the entire trip. Carry a copy of your medical records, prescriptions and a list of emergency contacts. Also, check if your health insurance covers emergencies where you are traveling and if it is necessary to purchase additional travel insurance.
2. Pack properly:
Packing properly is essential to ensure comfort during your trip. You should consider including in your suitcase some items that will make your trip more comfortable. Here are some guidelines to consider:
Medications and supplies: Be sure to pack enough medications for the duration of your trip, including painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications you may need. Also pack assistive devices, such as crutches or a cane, if you use them regularly.
Comfortable footwear: Choose comfortable, supportive footwear. Wearing shoes that provide stability and shock absorption is essential to reduce stress on joints and prevent pain. Compression stockings or tights (medium compression) can be particularly helpful for air travel and sightseeing where you have to be on your feet for long periods of time.
Assistive devices: If you use mobility devices, such as a wheelchair or walker, check with the airline or transportation service how they will be handled during travel.
3. Maintain an exercise and stretching routine:
During your trip, it is important to continue exercise and stretching routines. Maintaining joint mobility and flexibility can help reduce stiffness and pain.
If you are traveling without a car, remember to take regular breaks every 1.5 to 2 hours.
If you travel by plane, it is important to get up and take a short walk down the aisle every hour and a half to 2 hours. Schedule regular breaks to stretch and move around. Even a few minutes of walking or stretching can make a difference in how you feel during the trip.
4. Choose appropriate activities and destinations:
When planning your tourist activities, take into account your limitations and comfort. Avoid activities that require intense physical exertion or long walks. Instead, opt for more relaxed options, such as car tours, that do not involve much physical exertion.
Also, look for places and activities that allow you to sit down and rest when necessary. Make sure that the destinations you plan to visit are accessible and have facilities for people with reduced mobility.
5. Listen to your body and know what it is telling you:
Finally, listen to your body and to learn to know and interpret what it wants to tell you. It is important to recognize your limits and not to strain your joints too much. If you feel pain or fatigue, do not hesitate to rest. Knowing your limits will help you enjoy your trip instead of suffering from it.
Traveling with osteoarthritis requires careful planning and special consideration of your needs. By following these tips, you can enjoy your travels safely and comfortably, and make the most of your adventures, without compromising your well-being. As always, consult with your physician before embarking on a major trip for specific guidance on your medical and mobility needs.