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Travelling abroad with Arthritis

Arthritis is a common symptom of old age, and most types of arthritis have no cure. Instead, there are different treatments and medications you can take to manage your pain and to make movement easier. With the right measures, there is no reason why your arthritis should ever stop you from travelling. So long as you prepare in advance and have everything you need on hand, you can make the stress and pain of travelling far more bearable.

Is arthritis a medical condition I need to declare on my travel insurance?

As arthritis (and its different variations, like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) is a pre-existing medical condition, you will need to declare it on your medical conditions travel insurance.

Does air pressure affect arthritis?

Local weather can increase arthritis pain. On average, this pain will increase incrementally for every 10-degree drop in temperature. As for air pressure, fluctuations can cause the tendons, muscles, and bones to expand and contract. Both these changes in air pressure and colder temperatures can make flying result in more pain than usual for those with arthritis.

What to prepare before your flight

To prepare for a flight if you have arthritis, you will want to:

  • Have pain medication on hand
  • Know the security and customs rules and regulations – you might need medical certification
  • Inform the airport and airline in advance if you have special requirements
  • Stay active to minimise the pain of arthritis beforehand
  • Choose flights that will help minimise pain (e.g., multiple layovers for long-haul flights)

How to cope during your flight

There are many ways to cope with arthritis pain during a flight. These include:

  • Taking pain medication
  • Providing joint support to your affected limbs
  • Sitting properly in your seat
  • Walking and stretching regularly throughout the trip
  • Using heating or cooling pads