Managing arthritis during the holidays is important because arthritis pain and complications can really put a damper on your festive plans. When you’re bogged down by pain and stiffness you can’t enjoy the holidays to the fullest. To save you from suffering, here are some helpful tips to get you through the holidays – despite your arthritis.
An arthritis flare-up can be so painful you may not even wish to partake in any of the festivities simply because you’re in so much pain. An arthritic flare-up – basically, a severe episode of common arthritis symptoms – is characterized by pain, inflammation, stiffness, fatigue, and impaired physical function, which can limit your ability to perform basic everyday tasks.
If not properly managed, arthritis flare-ups can really affect your daily life and take away from your holiday spirit. This is why taking effective measures to manage arthritis during the holidays and in your everyday life is of utmost importance, so that you are not limited by your condition.
Arthritis flares can be triggered by stress, infection, certain foods, fatigue, and pregnancy. By recognizing your triggers, you can have better success in managing your arthritis flares.
Holiday tips for arthritis patients
To enjoy the holidays with arthritis, there are some things you can try for pain reduction and increased mobility:
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other over-the-counter-pain relievers as directed by your physician.
- Exercise and stretch.
- Maintain a healthy weight even if that means losing weight.
- Eat a balanced diet – but remember to avoid specific food triggers you may have.
- Check up with your doctor before the holidays, especially if the condition is worsening.
- Keep in mind your triggers.
- Manage and reduce stress.
- Seek help for depression and pain.
- Treat yourself with something you love – it’s the holidays after all, so you can definitely get yourself a gift!
- Don’t push yourself too much – set boundaries and know when to say “no”.
- Protect aching joints by wearing a brace or using a walking device.
- Follow your medication plan.
- Spot the symptoms as they first emerge to begin treatment right away.
- Rest when needed.
Holiday travelling with arthritis
If you’re planning on travelling this holiday season to see your loved ones, you don’t want your arthritis to get in the way. Travelling is already stressful enough – and arthritis pain can really raise your stress levels. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when travelling with arthritis.
- Schedule key treatments such as injections prior to taking off.
- Be careful with vaccinations – some that are recommended for travelers may actually counteract when mixed with arthritis treatment. Speak with your doctor beforehand in order to be safe.
- Take your medication records with you – in case you need more medications, ask your doctor for a prescription refill.
- Read your health insurance carefully – ensure you are covered when out of the country.
- Travel light or ask for help with your bags.
- Try to stretch and move around as much as possible.
- Plan your trip around your best times – for example, if mid-day you feel your best then schedule your flight for that time.
- Take assistive devices such as canes, walkers, or splints.
- Wear comfortable and proper shoes.
- If you’re going somewhere hot, ensure you are using sunscreen and practice sun safety tips as some arthritis medications can cause side effects as a result of sun exposure.
- Upon returning, ease back into your home routine – this means getting adequate rest before jumping back to your regular schedule.
- During the flight, ensure you add extra support to your joints. For example, having extra support to your lower back by adding a pillow or wearing a brace for other joints.
- Avoid slouching and poor posture throughout the flight. Use pillows or blankets to help you adjust.
- During longer flights, try to take opportunities to get up and walk, if and when safe to do so. This can help diminish the risk of blood clots.
- Perform exercises in your seat such as neck rolls, calf raises, tightening and relaxing your muscles, and lifting your legs and placing them back down.
By following these helpful tips, you can have greater success travelling and enjoying the holidays this year.