Tips for Managing Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that can affect some people with psoriasis. Most commonly, a patient first develops psoriasis, and later on, psoriatic arthritis. It is possible that the joint pain can appear before the red and silver scale patches appear on the skin. Many who have psoriatic arthritis will experience stiff joints, swelling, and pain throughout the body, including:

  • Swelling in the fingers and toes: Deformities in the hands and feet as well as sausage-like swelling in fingers and toes 
  • Spine pain: psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, which in turn can cause severe pain, especially in the spinal vertebrae. 
  • Foot discomfort: Many suffering from psoriatic arthritis feel pain at the Achilles tendon or the soles of the feet. This is due to pain where tendons connect to the bones. 
  • Other pain: In addition to joint pain, psoriatic arthritis can include red scaly skin that can be itchy, unsightly or uncomfortable

Psoriatic arthritis can be disabling and greatly limit a patient’s ability to live a normal life. Not only are you dealing with joint pain but also skin lesions and significant discomfort. If you have psoriatic arthritis, then it is imperative to focus on your health and create a wellness routine that will allow you to function as normally as possible. Here are some essential tips you can implement to manage psoriatic arthritis better.

Exercise


In general, exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle and can have tremendous positive effects on your health. Patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), however, will need to implement a slightly different workout routine. Low impact sport like yoga, swimming, or biking can help loosen tight joints and reduce pain. Exercise also can help to boost your mood and control your weight- two factors that are also essential to living with psoriatic arthritis.

Make Time for Rest


Today we are all so busy running around dealing with everything from work to errands to kids. Those with psoriatic arthritis need to make time to relax and rest the joints. The pain and inflammation in your joints may be causing you to be more fatigued, so it is important not to overexert yourself. When you are planning your say, aside specific time for low-impact exercise, daily errands, and be sure to plan some pit stops to rest along the way.

Avoid Gluten and Dairy


Most processed foods are comprised of gluten and dairy. Processed foods like bread, cheese, yogurt, and ready-made microwavable meals can be difficult for the body to break down and are often lacking in vital nutrients and minerals. Try to opt for gluten-free and dairy-free versions of your favorite foods, and when you are ready for it, try to eliminate processed foods entirely in favor of foods like salmon, berries, spinach, and nuts. A diet of natural foods improves a variety of symptoms and ailments, including psoriatic arthritis.

Take a Bath


Many suffering from joint pain know the benefits of taking a bath with Epsom salt. Despite the word “salt” in its name, Epsom salt is a chemical compound that releases magnesium. When you soak, the minerals from Epsom salt cover your skin and can provide profound relief for both joint pain and surface issues on the skin, such as the scaly flakes caused by psoriasis. It is important to note, those with psoriatic arthritis will need to keep the bath luke-warm instead of hot as heat can further irritate psoriasis. You can also add coconut oil or olive oil to the bath for a boost of moisture. Keep the bath warm, and be sure to moisturize your skin when you get out.

Meditate


Patients with psoriatic arthritis may find relief in wellness practices like meditation. Implementing meditation into your daily life can be easy with a simple app or video online. Take a moment in the morning or before you go to sleep to practice slow breathing and connect with your body. This awareness can calm the nervous system and give you the tools to more calmy deal with the discomfort you may feel throughout the day.

Essential Oils


Essential oils have been used for centuries to combat pain, discomfort, and skin conditions naturally. These are often available over the counter at health food stores and even in many major supermarkets. The pleasant smell can also help patients to relax. Try lavender, cinnamon, and ginger to help fight inflammation and pain. Apply oils directly to the skin or put a few drops in an aromatherapy diffuser at work or home to benefit from their calming properties throughout the day.

Acupuncture


Acupuncture is an ancient practice using tiny needles on specific points throughout the body to eliminate pain and discomfort and to increase digestion and blood flow. A licensed practitioner can perform acupuncture on specific joints to help alleviate symptoms.

Be Sure You’re Comfortable


If you tend to sit many hours at a computer, you will need to be sure your posture and placement of hands, neck, and arms are in the best place possible. Strain in these positions can only increase joint pain and discomfort. Ensuring your monitor is at eye level and that your chair supports a straight back can help ensure your body remains aligned and strong.

Stop Smoking


Smoking can be a significant irritant for psoriatic arthritis, and overall does not promote a healthy quality of life. Smokers are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis and are at a higher risk of more intense symptoms that those who do not smoke. Additionally, eliminating alcohol can have a profound effect on psoriatic arthritis pain.

There is no one perfect cure for psoriatic arthritis. In fact, the cause of the disease is mostly unknown. Each patient will react differently to the tips for managing psoriatic arthritis above, so be sure to try a variety and combination of them to see what works. Talk with your doctor to understand what medications may help to manage your pain and skin symptoms, but do not forget to keep trying and experimenting with at-home solutions. With a little effort, you can be on your way to living a more pain-free and symptom-free life.