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Tools and resources when you’re living with arthritis

Published January 15. 2019 12:08PM

Living with a chronic illness takes planning and special care. But living with arthritis is painful, disruptive and stops us from leading active, healthy lifestyles.

It leaves the body with swollen joints and stiffness. It makes one more susceptible to serious mental conditions like depression and loneliness and one must fight harder to find relief. The Arthritis Foundation offers simple and effective ways to conquer the fight and take control of the condition.

The National Center for Health Statistics claims that 76.2 million, or 26 percent of Americans, suffer from chronic pain and over half of those live with a form of arthritis.

Pain medications are found in prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies and each are effective when used properly. However, as with all medications, there are possible side effects and risks.

If you want to explore alternative pain relief therapies, there are options like meditation, topical creams, steroid injections and wearing special shoes.

The Arthritis Foundation offers these tips to better handle pain when traveling.

• Before you travel, get organized and prepared, with a little research and planning you can reduce pain and have a pleasant trip.

• Discuss concerns with an occupational therapist who can tell you how to select a rental car or prepare your own with swivel seats, spinner knobs and other hand controls.

• Fly midweek to avoid airport lines. Book an aisle seat so it’s easier to stretch your legs. Reserve an ADA accessible hotel room near the elevator or on the first floor.

• Pack necessities like a folding cane or walker, travel chair, beaded seat cover, folding reacher or extra pillow for back support. Be sure to carry-on your medications.

• Stock up on ice packs, heat wraps and pads.

• Watch what you eat. Carry healthy snacks, water, and lay off alcohol and caffeine which aggravate inflammation.

• Here’s a nifty online tool that allows you to predict your joint pain based on the local weather. Go to this link and enter your ZIP code or the ZIP code from where you’ll be traveling: https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/weather/.

Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com.

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