Community Ideas: Driving with RA
We recently received questions from our community about the challenge of driving with RA. We wanted to know what our community members on Facebook thought, so we asked: "Does anyone else struggle with driving due to RA symptoms (stiffness, fatigue, etc)? Do you have any tips?" Approximately 175 people were kind enough to respond! Check out what they had to say...Tips on driving with RASome tricks that are helpful:I hold the wheel down low, elbows touching my side to reduce pull on my shoulders and neck.Use the lumbar support tilt controls, and change them to keep from getting too stiff from sitting.Put pedal extender on the gas/brake pedal and put the seat as far back as I can so legs can straighten out, move a bit.Keep a small blanket and neck pillow in car for five-minute "rest the eyes" breakCrank the tunes to tune the pain awayPace myselfSelect your car according to ease of getting in and out, motorized adjustable seats, armrests, etc.I get the most comfort by using my armrest and I adjust my chair making sure I am going to have my arms on the rest..Listen to things on the radio that make you peaceful - might sound nuts but if you get upset listening to political stuff don't listen in your car.Heat up your joints and low impact stretches before hand.Stop before your at the point of "I can't do this anymore." Only you know your level of fatigue - stop get out move around when you start to feel uncomfortable is the best way to fight back the driving doom.A well-cushioned seat that is in a good position for you is a must. If need be, get a memory foam (or whatever works for you) pillow and use. If you can reach the pedals move the seat back a touch and use one for your back.When adjusting your seat into position, hold your foot out and do not point your toes. Move the seat up till it is just touching your entire foot. If you have to "point" your foot to drive, this will give much more foot pain.Take lots of breaksI use cruise control as often as possible so I can do circles inward and outward with my ankles while I'm driving.I find it helps to keep my ankles moving!I feel the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive. Front wheel drive has more vibration coming through the steering wheel and I can't drive for more than 30 minutes before my arms and shoulders aching. With rear wheel drive, I can drive for several hours no problem.I try consciously not to grip the wheel too hard.I insisted on electric seats on both sides so when hubby drives I can still move the seat around as I find one position for too long is not good.When my foot is on the brake at a red light the pain intensifies. I will slightly rock or bounce my leg a little with my foot still on the brake.It does help to sit up and back because you then can change positions somewhatI try to keep my elbows propped up on window/door or console.Keep journeys as short as possible. And immediately medicate upon getting home....unless I'm not driving.....if not.....meds on board!Extra mirrors for when my neck is stiff also helps.Sometimes I can only use one hand at a time so I'll alternate and use the other hand just to keep the steering wheel steady when needed.Keeping the seat close as possible also allows me to turn the wheel with more ease so I'm not extending my arms or wrists too much because I have very little extension in my wrists.Longer trips are hard, have to break it up in to shorter trips
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?