Don't Let RLS Keep You From Travel

July 18, 2022 Planning Travel with RLS Travel with RLS is possible with advanced planning to help manage unwanted symptoms during tr...

July 18, 2022

Planning Travel with RLS

Travel with RLS is possible with advanced planning to help manage unwanted symptoms during travel by plane, bus, train or car. These tips will help you to create a plan that employs several strategies to manage symptoms.

  1. Make a List of Strategies that help you to cope with symptoms. Travel presents its own unique challenges for individuals with RLS. When a bout of RLS strikes, it is easier to have a list of helpful coping strategies to select from, rather than trying to remember them when symptoms are bothersome. Keep a running list of helpful things in your phone notes.
  2. Get a Good Nights Sleep. A good night of sleep prior to travel will help to prevent or curb a worsening of RLS symptoms.
  3. Bring Along Mental Alerting Activities such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, needlework, video/digital games such as chess or solitaire to help to quell RLS symptoms during periods of inactivity.
  4. Practice Mild to Moderate Physical Activity involving the limbs such as walking, yoga or stretching before, between travel connections and at the end of your journey to help in the management of symptoms during travel.
  5. Book Travel Times during the early morning hours when RLS symptoms are generally least troublesome.
  6. Make Seat Selection. Book or request an aisle seat so you can stretch your legs, stand or get up and walk if needed.
  7. Download a Special Accommodations Card. If you don’t have access to our Member Portal you can call us and request an RLS Foundation Special Accommodations Card to present to travel personnel.
  8. Know and Avoid Your RLS triggers. Avoid your RLS triggers during travel. Commonly reported triggers are alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, sugar, food, food dyes and salt. Refer to the RLS Medical Alert Card for a list of common medications that may worsen RLS, which includes most antidepressants, antipsychotics, antinausea medications and first-generation antihistamines.
  9. Try Nonpharmacological Approaches to Help Manage Symptoms. Leg massage, compression stockings, foot hammock, snacks that can be eaten one at a time (cereal, popcorn, raisins) or calming teas are strategies to quell RLS during travel.
  10. Don't Forget Medications. Speak to your RLS provider to discuss medication strategies (timing, dosage) or possible use of the short acting dopamine medication Sinemet to manage breakthrough symptoms during the day of travel (Note: Sinemet can be used up to three times per week as a rescue medication). Tramadol or other opioids may be very helpful to calm RLS symptoms during long flights.

Sleeping away from home presents problems for those with RLS. When you are out of your regular environment it can be difficult to stay on your usual exercise and medication schedule, but try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Know your iron levels and continue with iron supplementation as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t let RLS keep you from enjoying travel, plan your RLS strategies as you plan your trip. Bon Voyage!

You Might Also Like


Flickr Images