Don't Cancel! You Can Travel With Osteoarthritis!

By Donna Stark

The busiest time of the year is upon us and that may include a lot of hours on the road for you. Visiting loved ones during the holiday season is important, but that usually means extra sitting in tight, cramped quarters, and standing for hours on end in long lines at the airport, doesn't it? It's hard enough to travel during this time of the year and the stress alone can make these trips turn from bad to worse. But if you are also suffering from osteoarthritis? Ugh! The worst just turned to the impossible.

Traveling with Osteoarthritis

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness, particularly in the morning and after extended periods of rest or inactivity. An osteoarthritis sufferer may also experience swollen joints, limited range of motion, and reduced mobility. These symptoms are bad enough on their own but can be exacerbated while traveling. You certainly don't want to greet your family on the other side of the gate while suffering from immeasurable pain, so here are some travel tips that may help you avoid some of these symptoms.

  • Walk - It's a good idea to be proactive about the possible joint stiffness that may occur during long periods of sitting. One of the easiest ways to do this is to get up and move around as often as you can. Walk the aisle in the plane or, if driving, stop for plenty of breaks.
  • Choose the right seating - If you are going to be flying on a plane, make every attempt to choose an aisle seat. This will give you more room to stretch your legs out and better opportunities to take those walking breaks because you won't have to climb over the sleeping person beside you. If you're traveling by car, slide your seat back as far as possible to give your legs more room to stretch and pull over for breaks.
  • Stretch and exercise - Keep your legs moving as much as you can while sitting by stretching and exercising your feet and legs. You can do this by raising and lowering your toes, tightening and relaxing your leg muscles, and lifting and lowering your feet off the ground.
  • Get advice - Another option you should consider is to talk to your doctor before the trip to ask for recommendations and advice on what to pack (medications, heating pads, ice packs, or any other type of assistive item).

Arriving Pain-Free

You don't have to cancel your travel plans because you are worried about osteoarthritis rearing its ugly head and you certainly don't have to fill your scrapbook with pictures of you being in pain. Sure, it may mean that you have to pack some extra items or spend more time planning excursions that don't require a lot of walking, but all of your efforts will be worth it if it gives you a pain-free trip. So go ahead and enjoy your holiday season with your family!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chino Hills, Calif.

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