8 Ways to Manage Your Psoriatic Arthritis
Are you living with psoriasis and painful, swollen joints? This could mean that you suffer from a form of psoriasis known as psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis occurs in a small percentage of psoriasis patients that suffer from arthritis inflammation.
At Achieve Clinical Research, we conduct clinical research studies on psoriatic arthritis in order to better understand this condition and improve treatment options for those who suffer from it. Research on psoriatic arthritis has shown that if left unmanaged, permanent damage to the joints can occur from uncontrolled inflammation.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to help get control of your inflammation and manage your psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Below are 8 methods to help you take control of your psoriatic arthritis and prevent flare ups from happening.
Change Your Diet
Your weight and the types of food you eat can have a big impact on your psoriatic arthritis. Salty foods that are high in fat and sugar can actually cause or worsen inflammation. Instead of a diet laden with fatty, sugary foods, cut out the junk food and aim for a diet filled with lean protein, such as fish or chicken, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. These foods can actually help fight inflammation.
Not only does eating healthy help improve your psoriatic arthritis inflammation, but it can also help you lose weight which can also be beneficial. If you are overweight, this ads more stress to your joints, making your symptoms worse. Losing those excess pounds can also improve the effectiveness of your medications
Hot/Cold Therapy is Your Friend
Hot and cold therapies can be very beneficial for helping to reduce your joint pain. Try using a heating pad on the affected joints or taking a warm bath. The warmth can help increase blood flow and reduce swelling. However, because of your psoriasis, be sure not to stay in the tub for too long or make the water too hot as it can cause your skin to dry out and exacerbate rashes.
Using cold therapy, such as an ice pack, can also be helpful in reducing pain and swelling in your joints. Make sure to use a towel to wrap up your ice packs so that they do not irritate your skin and only use them for about 10 minutes on and off.
Manage Your Stress
A very common trigger for psoriatic arthritis flare ups is stress. Managing your stress can help you relax and put your mind and body at ease. Try incorporating stress relieving practices into your daily routine.
Some great options for relieving stress include:
- Socializing with friends and family
- Breathing exercises
- Regular sessions with a professional therapist
Make Sure to Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is always important, especially when you are going through a psoriatic arthritis flare up. However, these flare ups can sometimes make it difficult to get the sleep that your body needs. If you are having a hard time falling asleep because of your psoriatic arthritis, here are some things you can do to help you fall asleep easier:
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool
- Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom
- Avoid caffeine or energy drinks in the afternoon and at night
Don’t Forget to Exercise
Another method of managing your psoriatic arthritis symptoms that can also provide other health benefits is regular exercise. Exercising helps to reduce joint pain, increase energy, raise your mood, sleep better, and lose weight. On top of all that, exercise is also beneficial for your heart health.
The best part is you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to get the benefits of exercise. Simply getting 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can improve your health and ease psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Some great exercise options for people with psoriatic arthritis are:
- Brisk walking
If you are not used to doing regular exercise, make sure to take it slow at first and don’t overexert yourself. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to make sure you can handle the exercise you are planning on.
Stretching is Also Important
A very common symptom of psoriatic arthritis is stiff and achy joints in the mornings when you wake up, or after sitting down or resting for an extended period of time. A great way to relieve the pain and stiffness is to stretch.
Yoga offers a variety of stretches that can help you become more flexible and loose, easing stiffness. Another option is to see a physical therapist about stretches you can perform at home to improve joint flexibility and relieve muscle soreness.
Be Sure to Medicate Properly
If you are suffering from joint pain caused by psoriatic arthritis, you may need take anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to help relieve the pain. However, before taking any medication, discuss it with your doctor to make sure it is the right thing for you personally. If you have severe pain, your doctor may prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory like corticosteroids or powerful painkillers.
It is also important to stick to the medication regimen that your doctor has set for you. Do not stop your meds if symptoms get better or increase dosage if symptoms are not improving without talking to your doctor first.
One method for easing joint pain that is a bit unconventional is acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that uses tiny needles inserted into certain points of the body to relieve stress, pain and help promote relaxation. There has not been a lot of medical research into the health benefits of acupuncture, but practitioners and clients proclaim that it does help heal the body.
Psoriatic arthritis can be a very difficult and dangerous condition to live with, especially when left untreated. However, by employing some of the methods mentioned in this article you can better manage your symptoms and live a happier, healthier life!