f you suffer from Arthritis, this will be a well known story to you: You simply hate walking to and from the car.
Am I right? Or am I right?
Yep, often those people suffering from arthritis may find it difficult to walk to the car and back. However, you can not let arthritis stop you from living (and hopefully enjoying) your life.
But what if you start experiencing pain on your journey? How do you treat it on the road or prevent that pain from coming back the next time? My dad’s carer came up with these five tips to help him deal with the pain during a car journey.
Next time you need to head out of the house, keep these 5 tips in mind when hopping into the car to make your trip less stressful. Nathan also said he doesn’t mind if you share these tips, so please feel free to do so.
1. Keep arthritis pain relievers in the car
Pain relief comes in many forms. Make sure you keep your favorite in the car for quick relief.
Make it a point to keep a few pain relief supplies on hand by placing it in one of your car’s (many, too many) compartments. This may include over-the-counter pain pills, a tube of arthritis cream, or on-the-go heat patches.
Whether you experience pain as soon as you get in your car, or later down the road, rely on these over-the-counter products to seek relief.
If you live in an area with cold winters, do not keep these items in your car, as they may freeze. Instead, put them in your purse or fanny pack so they are always on hand.
Ever since Nathan suggested it, my dad has never been caught without his stash. It has made a huge difference and he is no longer reluctant to leave the house. Thanks Nathan!
Speaking of over-the-counter products, most retail stores sell on-the-go heating patches. These patches stick to your body and warm with skin contact. ThermaCare is a well-known brand. They are ideal when you can’t use an electric or microwaveable heating pad.
If in pain before you leave the house, but must still leave, like for a holiday, party or a doctor’s appointment, apply an on-the-go heated patch. Relief will last for up to 12 hours. Since they stick directly to the skin, no adjustments should be needed.
2. Use a remote car starter
No more fumbling with a bunch of keys – bliss!
If you live in the northern United States, it is important to warm your car first. Unfortunately, this may mean an extra trip back and forth, but it actually doesn’t have to.
Instead, purchase a remote car starter. This device allows you to start and warm your car from inside your home. They also make it easier to unlock car doors. Instead of fumbling with the keys, push the button and your car doors unlock! When buying a remote car starter, look for stores that offer free or discounted installation.
To be honest, my dad often forgets to use his remote car starter. There is one time of year he never forgets though, and that is during the cold winter months. As soon as the weather starts turning, he will forget once or twice, and then very quickly start remembering to use the remote car starter.
I am so glad we made that investment for him, as it makes his car trips during the cold winter months so much more bearable.
3. Make sure you have a non-slip steering wheel cover
Nathan said that oftentimes those who suffer from arthritis of the fingers, “dread driving.” Can you imagine feeling that way?
He also said that some of his patients even fear the danger they put themselves AND others in…
Gripping a steering wheel should not be a worry for you. Invest in a non-slip cover and save yourself from worry.
If you find it difficult to grip your car’s steering wheel, make a new purchase. That purchase should be an easy grip and non-slip steering wheel cover.
Ask a store employee, family member, or friend to install the cover for you. Nathan helped us with my dad’s. Once again, I am so grateful to Nathan!
4. Keep a jar opener in the car
My dad has so many of these lying around, all over the house.
If you have arthritis of the hands, you likely already utilize rubber jar openers at home. They make griping, twisting, and turning easier.
Keep one in the driver’s door of your car, like my dad does. He uses it to unscrew his car’s gas cap.
Don’t get in a pickle when you have to unscrew the gas cap, just use a rubber jar opener!
Nathan says you can also find arthritis gas cap wrenches available for sale. They slip over your gas cap and have an extended and easy grip handle.
These are nice, but my dad says they can be hard to find. For the same price, you could easily buy 20 rubber jar openers, which accomplish the same goal.
5. When refuelling your car, do so less often
What do I mean by that? Make sure you fill up your tank when you refuel, don’t just put in $20 because you are in a hurry.
You won’t be forced to put gas in when you are already in pain or more susceptible to it when you refuel to the max every time you fill up.
Make use of full service gas stations, they are worth it.
If you have a full-service gas station in your area, use it. My dad normally picks me up to help refuel his car, and as he doesn’t do a lot of driving, I don’t mind doing so at all.
As previously stated, there are tools available to make opening and closing the gas cap easier. Even with these tools, it can still be difficult and painful. Avoid that pain by refilling completely every time you do fill up.
As you can see, there are many steps that you can take to ease travel and car use. Just because you suffer from arthritis and are prone to pain, it does not mean you need to live your life in fear. If you implement the above mentioned steps to reduce pain, just like my dad did, it will make your life so much easier and less stressful.
Bonus tip: buy a car with push start button
Keyless push-button start, a lifesaver for arthritis sufferers.
Ok, so this isn’t a simple step to implement, but it is totally worthwhile sharing.
These days, new cars often come with keyless, push-button ignition. An electronic key fob is recognized by the car to authorize driving. The fob can remain in the driver’s pocket or purse, as the ignition switch itself is just a button on the dash.
My dad recently purchased a new Toyota that came with keyless push-button start function. Honestly, in the beginning it was a bit strange to get used to, but once he got the hang of it he absolutely loved it! No longer does he have to fumble with the keys, trying to insert it into the slot, he simply pushes a button and the car is ready to drive. Now if only I can find a way to make him remember to take the key fob when he leaves the house…