Drivers with fibromyalgia have over double the risk of being in a serious car accident that sends them to hospital compared to the rest of the driving population, a study in the Journal of Rheumatology found. When you live with fibromyalgia, driving can indeed be a challenge. Fatigue, widespread joint and muscle pain throughout the body, and cognitive issues can negatively impact your ability to drive comfortably and safely. However, there are several things you can do to ease pain, stay safe, and start enjoying car journeys again.
Choose a comfortable car
Investing in a comfortable car can make driving with fibromyalgia more enjoyable and less painful. Look at reviews and ratings of car makes and models you’re considering. It’s important you choose a good-quality and reliable car that provides you with the space you need. Additionally, you can also outfit your car with useful features to help enhance comfort levels. For example, installing a padded seat belt can prevent a sore neck. A swivel seat can allow you to get in and out the car with greater ease. Larger mirrors can minimize blind spots. Lumbar cushions are a must to help prevent lower back pain.
Pain management tips
Being prepared with reliable and effective methods of pain management will make car journeys much more comfortable. For example, a heating pad will keep you warm on the road — just plug it into the power outlet in your car. A 12V or USB heated blanket can provide warmth to your whole body, while a heated seat cushion essentially gives you a heated seat. Alternatively, a general heat pad can be placed wherever you need relief. Many people with fibromyalgia enjoy listening to music, audio books, or podcasts — they’re a great distraction which helps time pass quicker. Additionally, self-massage and deep breathing techniques are easy to learn and use on the road. Always give yourself time to take regular rest breaks. Whenever you start to feel stiff, stop the car at the nearest stop, and get out and stretch.
Wear comfortable clothing
Dressing in comfy clothes can make a world of difference during car rides. In particular, light-weight, loose, and flexible clothing can help minimize pain. So, stay away from constricting jeans and leggings and instead opt for loose pants, skirts, or dresses. Similarly, loose-fitting shirts or sweaters are a good choice. Darker colored clothes will provide protection from the sun. Bras can also be a big source of pain for people with fibromyalgia, so make sure you choose loose-fitting styles that are easy to pull on and off. For all your clothing, it’s important to avoid harsh, synthetic fabrics as some people with fibromyalgia are sensitive to chemicals. Soft, natural fabrics like wool and cotton are kinder on the skin.
Driving with fibromyalgia is often a difficult, painful, and exhausting task. However, following these useful tips can help you make car rides safe, comfortable, and more enjoyable.