RA and driving

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 323
   Posted 1/6/2017 3:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
I actually belong to one of the other forums (for my UC), however my mum was diagnosed a year ago with RA and I wanted your advice/input. She is currently on methotrexate, and steroids for periodic flares, however she still suffers quite a bit at times. My concern is that my mum is quite a depressed and defeatist type of person anyway and has been all of her life and now I'm worried that she's just going to sit in a chair all day and wait out the rest of her life. I've only just found out that she's completely given up driving because she can't do it anymore with the RA, which concerns me as while she relies on my dad to get her everywhere, grocery shopping etc, he is 70 and so not a young man himself. He's just recently injured his back and had to drive himself in agony to the doctor because she won't drive anymore. I don't want to sound heartless, I know how tough having a debilitating medical condition can be, and I also understand the depression that can come along with it, I'm just concerned. So I wanted to get everyone's feedback on everyone's experience with driving, whether it's still possible, and if not, whether there are any potential vehicle modifications that can potentially help?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 595
   Posted 1/6/2017 9:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi WorriedUCer,

I would think that if she's on a medication that alleviates her symptoms then, barring any other problems, she would be able to drive. If she is still in a lot of pain she should ask her doctor for a biologic such as Remicade or Enbrel. I am on Remicade for both rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis and it has enabled me to do most of the things I need to do, including driving all over the place. I posted a question "What is best car for RA" many months ago and got a lot of good suggestions. Maybe you can find that and read some of the responses. I'm also wondering if a low dose anti-depressant might help her. Until (hopefully) your mother starts driving again maybe you can contact some churches in your area and ask if they offer any transportation services for the sick/elderly.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2005 and rheumatoid arthritis in 1998. On Remicade since 2005 for both diseases. For UC tried sulfasalazine, Lialda, colazal and others which made me ill. Started 50 mg. Imuran July 2015. Use peppermint oil capsules and Bentyl which help during a flare and with IBS symptoms.

Caregiver for mother with Alzheimer's Disease (for Alz. forum)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 1/6/2017 11:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm about a year into learning I have RA. I do have occasional hand cramps, wrist pains, elbow pains, and achy shoulders when I drive. It depends on the distance and the weather.
I wear compression gloves to help With the hands and wrists issues while driving.

There is several driver's services out there. In my area there's Masters Care, A Caring Man with a Van, etc....
Lupus, RA, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Asthma, Hypothyriodism, Sleep Apnea, Depression, Allergies, diabetes, and benign familia tremors

When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 323
   Posted 1/7/2017 2:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys,
Thanks for the responses, that at least gives me some insight. She has just flat out said that she can't drive, and refused to do so even to the local shops when my dad had injured his back so he had to do it. I didn't want to come across as unfeeling as I have my own needs that people often don't understand, but I do feel there is a psychological component and I don't want her to become a literal prisoner of this illness. I will look at the thread you suggested, and also the driving services. I just have to be careful in how I raise it as I sense it will be met with resistance.
Mild-Mod UC - diagnosed 1995; antiphospholipidsyndrome - diagnosed 2014; painful bladder - diagnosed 2003
Meds: Mezavant ; warfarin

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 548
   Posted 1/11/2017 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Im 47 and I didn't drive for about a year and a half recently because I was close to passing out at times due to RA meds, fatigue and pain. Riding in a car is a painful experience for me no matter what now so I can understand where your mom is coming from. I get dizzy now just riding in a car going over about 20 MPH some days. Im disabled, on disabilty and spend most of my time at home as well now.

Between the pain and incredible amounts of fatigue its really really hard to do things anymore. You can't and shouldn't push your mom to do anything she isn't comfortable with. She knows her body and what she is able to do. Think about it this way; imagine the anxiety it will cause her to have her loved one telling her that she should do this or that when she probably would LOVE to do it but just doesn't have it in her anymore.

I hope that she feels better and that she is able to get back in the swing of things soon.

Blessings -Don
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