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New Year’s Travel Tips for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

There’s no doubt about it, the holidays can be a stressful time for anyone with all the planning, family obligations, cold weather and travel. But for people living with osteoarthritis (OA), traveling over the holidays can be even more of a pain. You may even be tempted to give up on your holiday travel plans for because of the challenges OA brings.

airport terminal filled with holiday travelers

However, Accord Clinical Research has some helpful tips to ease your holiday travel woes. Take back control of your holiday plans with the following simple measures. Before you know it you’ll be feeling that holiday cheer and smiling from ear to ear!

Book Smart

The first step in getting ready to travel over the holidays is booking smart. Booking flights during the middle of the week tends to offer shorter lines at the airport and less people on the flight. If you can, try to reserve a seat that allows for extra legroom, but if that is not an option aim for an aisle seat so you can stretch your legs or get up if you need to.

Another important thing to consider when making travel plans is hotel accommodations. If you are planning on staying in a hotel, try to reserve a room on the first floor or close to the elevator to avoid using the stairs. Also, make sure to take advantage of the hotel hot tub and gym if they have them. Another thing to ask for is a fridge in your room to store certain medications.

Get Your Meds Ready

One thing you really don’t want to do when traveling is be caught without your OA medications. This can include prescription meds, heating/cooling pads, topical ointments and creams. Whether you are traveling by air or ground, make sure to keep your medications close by in an easy to reach place.

For any meds that need to be kept cool, bring a small travel cooler or an ice pack to prevent them from getting too warm while you travel. Another great thing to take with you is a pill box which allows you to separate your daily doses of meds for each day of the week. Finally, make sure you look up the closest pharmacy to your travel destination in case you find yourself in need.

Plan Ahead

You can never be too prepared when it comes to traveling. Planning your holiday activities ahead of time can do a lot to help decrease your holiday stress. Know what your limitations are and plan your itinerary accordingly. Make sure you schedule time to get out and be active, but don’t forget to set aside some time to relax and recover.

Eat Right

The holidays are always a hard time for eating healthy, especially when you are traveling. Many of the on-the-go foods you find at rest stops and airports are processed foods that are high in calories and fat. These kind of fatty foods only promote inflammation, making your joint pain worse. Try to stick with an anti-inflammatory diet over the holidays instead.

When you’re getting ready to travel, be sure to pack some healthy on-the-go snacks before leaving the house. Not only will you avoid junk food on the way to your destination, but you’ll also be saving money. It is also very important to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps ease inflammation in the joints.

Don’t Drink to Excess

While it may be tempting to overindulge in alcohol consumption when getting into the holiday spirit, this is not so great for your osteoarthritis. Make sure to moderate your drinking over the holidays as alcohol can cause dehydration, and drink plenty of water while you travel. Don’t be afraid to order some cranberry juice instead of an alcoholic beverage. Cranberry juice may help ease the inflammation in your joints.

Be Sure To Travel Comfortably

When traveling with osteoarthritis, you really want to take measures to ensure your comfort and ease. Don’t forget to bring heating/cooling pads to help treat pain and stiffness in your joints. Make sure to bring a neck pillow and blanket so you can relax and stay warm if you get too cold.

If you are going to be driving to your destinations, make sure you plan stops so that you can get out and stretch your legs to keep from getting too stiff. However, if you are going to be flying, take advantage of pre-boarding for disabilities and motorized escorts to beat the crowds through the airport.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Assistance

Many people can be too proud to ask for assistance in dealing with their OA pain, but support from friends and family can be a wonderful thing. Keep your friends and family informed of how you are feeling over the holidays and let them know if you need any help with certain activities. They will be happy to give you any aide that you need.

Don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of others living osteoarthritis. Who better to get advice from than those who have been where you are? They can offer you encouragement and share some tips they’ve learned from their own personal experiences.

Keep Moving

Remember, one of the worst things you can do for your stiff and aching joints is to be inactive. When you’re driving over the holidays make sure to stop frequently over long drives to move your joints and go for short walks. If you’re stuck on a plane, try some some simple stretches while seated, or get up and walk up and down the aisle to keep from getting stiff.

woman goes for an early morning walk to ease OA pain

Once you’ve reached your destination, it can be easy to want to curl up on a couch and be lazy all day, but it is important to try and get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Stretching can be a great way to ease joint pain and stay inside if it is too cold outside. However, if the weather is good, try to get outside for a 20 to 30 minute walk to stay active.

Accord Clinical Research is dedicated to helping those who suffer from OA lead an active and healthy lifestyle. We constantly seek to improve the quality of life and treatment options for OA patients through our osteoarthritis clinical trials and research. We hope that you find these tips helpful as you travel over the holidays and wish you a happy New Year!

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