Does flying trigger RA symptoms?: Hello all. I have... - NRAS

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Does flying trigger RA symptoms?

jomojo
jomojo
26 Replies

Hello all. I have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Cyprus. All my joints especially my shoulders , jaw, hip and left knee have had me in increasing pain since. I am popping painkillers through the night. It is actually reducing me to tears, yet again! I see my rheumatologist tomorrow and will begin methatrexate. So wondering if flying is related to the pain?

26 Replies
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charisma

Hi jo, it has not done for me. Had to go to Charleston, WV a year ago. That’s three flights and journeys from home to airport, and final airport to accommodation too.

But if your body was beginning to flare anyway, it could perhaps speed it up just because of doing more (handling luggage, more active?) than usual.

I had plenty of help, no need to lift any suitcases etc.

I had not long started 20mg Metopens ie MTX injections after taking it orally.

It was a brief period of being able to go away, for the MTX affected me by causing utter exhaustion, could not have achieved the trip later!

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to charisma

Hi Charisma. I think it was probably the beginning of a flare during the night flight plus sitting still is a nightmare isn't it? It gradually got worse from then on so I wondered id that could be linked.

Has methotrexate meds affected your holidays?

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charisma
charisma
in reply to jomojo

RA is highly unpredictable for me. I don’t plan much apart from going to the cinema, a bit of very light shopping or a walk nearby.

I hope you can get your health back on track very soon. :-)

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to charisma

It's a cruel disease for sure. I'm still getting my around it and wondering what happens now? I hope your not in too much pain. So glad we have each other on this site to lean on.

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charisma
charisma
in reply to jomojo

Yes, it can be. I tell myself not to think ahead and dwell on all it might do as it might never happen, just take each day as it comes . It’s my wrists and hands currently but not a full on flare. That would be excruciating. Even my feet at much better than they were but I got OA on top of RA.

Need to get out while the sun shines, hope you can too! A, x

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to charisma

Enjoy the beautiful sun. I've just got home from work and after last nights sleeplessness and my body aches I'm going to bed for an hour.

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helixhelix

It's never affected me that way, so I don't think so but I can't give you any evidence either way.

I agree with Charisma that it could be the extra effort of the journey. Or equally it could just be that your RA has got nasty. My experience was that I had a few years of aches and pains that came and went, and that the GP dismissed one way or another. And then it became more obvious and I got a referral. In the 6 weeks between referral and my appointment it hit me like a train. I was truly shocked by the rapid development of it, as I went from being a normal if slightly achy person to completely incapacitated.

Luckily I had a great rheumy, and also I tolerate drugs well. So methotrexate became my best friend, and after a bit I was in remisssion and stayed that way for around 5 years.

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to helixhelix

Glad you have responded well to methotrexate. I hope I can tolerate it too. I was bad back in 2009 to 2011 on hydroxycloriquin back then and given palandromic rheumatism diagnosis. Stopped hydroxycloriquin and been all fine untill recently.

I've been unnaturally tired for 6 months bad flu for a week in February then the last 2 months... yeah that train has hit me too. Where you able to carry on in work okay when you first began methotrexate? I work full time in a primary school and struggling at the moment.

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helixhelix
helixhelix
in reply to jomojo

I was fine with it, and my lovely rheumy gave me steroid injections every 3-4 months during first year, which calmed things down hugely. Ask your rheumy for help to tide you over until the MTX starts to work.

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to helixhelix

I will thank you thats a good thought. A month ago I was considering natural remedies as it went away for year without meds. But it feels different this time and definitely more fatigued, symetrical pain and longer lasting stiffness now I feel like I really want something to help me cope.

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helixhelix
helixhelix
in reply to jomojo

Don't abandon the idea of more natural approaches. I made a big effort on improving my lifestyle (weight, sleep, exercise and diet) and I feel it really helped me tolerate the drugs well and improved my general health. I had hoped then to be able to taper off drugs, but that's yet to happen, but I still remain pretty healthy (apart from this pesky disease). So do stuff in parallel, it can only help as long as you avoid some supplements like echinacea and black cohosh.

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AgedCrone

I flew as cabin crew for many years before I was diagnosed & I fly quite often now & never have any more pain than usual after a flight.

Cyprus isn't a very long flight, but maybe sitting in one position for a few hours caused you to stiffen up,& aircraft cabins are very dehydrating...... wonder what your rheumy will say?

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to AgedCrone

Hi Agecrone. Your probably right, you would know being cabin crew. It is probably a sheer coincidence flare plus thought of returning to work after a holiday.

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Ruth12345

Im pleased to read all this. My rheumy suggested I did not fly until I was in remission. He said it was up to me though and we were talking long haul.

Hope your recovery is quick

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Uga35570

Hi I am sure it does I fly quite frequently and "suffer for a few days. Ask your rheumy for some stretches slow and gentle that often helps.

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to Uga35570

Thanks Uga I will ask. I try a few if my own to loosen up but not sure they are helping.

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AgedCrone

If you fly long haul on a wide body aircraft make sure you get up & walk around (but not when the crew are trying to serve a meal/drinks please).

If you think about it, you wouldn't dream of sitting in one chair at home for 8/10 hours, so don't do it on an aircraft. You won't be the only one going for a wander,

Even if you only walk to the back of the plane & stand there flexing your muscles it will help.

It's not as easy on narrow bodied aircraft,but I always book an aisle seat & pop up & down & have a stretch when there is a lull in the aisle.

Oh & drink plenty of water....that will make you walk around...to go to the loo!

Happy flying folks!

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to AgedCrone

Good advice, it was only just 5 hr flight . But as we were landing and the pressure dropped I could feel twinges in my shoulders at the same time? Odd?

I suppose there are many things that affect people differently.

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MissMinto

I have found that flying DOES affect my RA and I think it's something to do with the air pressure in the cabin - some flights worse than others.

It's the same with the weather - it's not that certain weather conditions affect me but CHANGES to the air pressure do. I'm sure if I had an old fashioned barometer I'd be able to track it more clearly to know whether it's when the pressure goes up or down.

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jomojo

Hello MissMinto. It was a very cramped and late delayed flight too. So stress definitely had a roll too. I felt so well while we were away in the sun only few aches and pains. Is it right that you can not sunbathe on methotrexate?

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to jomojo

Role*

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MissMinto
MissMinto
in reply to jomojo

I think that's a suck-it-and-see situation. I'm less tolerant of the sun as I've got older and definitely post-menopause. I used to be able to lie in it for hours but not so much now. Recently I've upped my dose of methotrexate and switched to injections - as soon as I went in the sun I got the butterfly/lupus rash which could be drug-induced lupus, or drug-induced photosensitivity but the reaction has calmed right down - maybe my body has adjusted. My advice would be if you can sunbathe without a reaction, go for it!

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AgedCrone

Hi Jomojo.....There are a couple of cabin crew who post on here occasionally...I'm sure if it was clinically proven that cabin pressure would have a negative affect on RA the company doctor would not allow them to continue flying....for ethical as well as health reasons.

As you say the stress of a delayed crowded flight is much more likely to be the reason ....flying takes most people out of their comfort zone & that is very stressful.....hence the badly behaved passengers we read about drinking alcohol at 6am at airports!

As for sunbathing when taking Mtx...if you could sunbathe with no problems before you took it you would probably be alright.....I took Mtx for 7 years & went to Florida, Spain & the Canary Islands a couple of times a year & had no problems,..... .but if you always had sun sensitive skin I wouldn't chance it.....try one of the new fake tans...my Dermatologist recently remarked how good my tan was & was surprised it was out of a bottle!

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to AgedCrone

I am a alright in the sun, no problems

I love sunbathing on holidays. Florida being my one of my favourite places. Health is more important so if I end up taking methotrexate and its doing a good job well so be it. Please let me know what the fake tan brand is and ill give it a go.

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AgedCrone

I use two....depending how healthy the budget is looking-

Palmers cocoa butter formula with Vitamin E Natural Bronze Body Lotion....very reasonable £5/6, or when I am feeling rich Decléor Aroma Confort Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk.....it's cheapest on QVC when it's On Offer.£don't ask!

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jomojo
jomojo
in reply to AgedCrone

Thank you, I'll get on the net and order some.

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