7 Easy Solutions to Relieve Psoriatic Arthritis Pain

Psoriatic arthritis (PA) is defined as a chronic inflammatory arthritis that develops in some individuals with the skin condition psoriasis. According to UpToDate the PA affects both men and women equally with an incidence of about 6 per 100,000 per year and a prevalence of approximately 1 to 2 per 1000 in the general US population. It is estimated that between 4% and 30% of psoriasis patients develop this form of arthritis. The condition is characterized by pain in feet and lower back region as well as swollen fingers and toes. PA can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, but you can minimize its effect with different management tips. This article will show you seven easy ways to relieve psoriatic arthritis pain.

  1. Stretch gently

The most common mistake that PA patients make is avoiding any type of physical activity because they assume it will aggravate their pain. That’s a wrong approach due to the fact that prolonged inactivity can weaken your muscles. Weak and tight muscles put additional pressure on your joints, thus worsening the pain. Although you should avoid vigorous activities and exercises that put too much stress on your joints, particularly feet and lower back, there are other things you can do to strengthen your muscles and minimize the pain you feel. Stretching and strengthening improve your range of motion and build muscle to take pressure off your joints. It’s highly important to determine which muscles you’ll work and how much you will work them. Ideally, you should stretch to a tolerable limit and gradually increase your stretch as you’re getting used to the current limit.

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  1. Hot and cold

Applying hot and cold compresses is considered the easiest and the most common solution to manage any type of joint pain. Ideally, you should use heat therapy to relieve stiffness of the joints while cold therapies minimize the pain. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following heat therapies:

  • Warm shower or bath

  • Soak in a warm whirlpool

  • Purchase moist heat pads

  • Use a heating pad for up to 20 minutes at a time

  • Apply mineral oil onto your hand joints, put on dishwashing gloves and place the hands in warm tap water for 5 to 10 minutes

Cold treatments that can help you relieve PA pain include:

  • Submerge your feet in a container of ice and water

  • Wrap a bag of ice (or frozen food) into a towel and apply onto the painful joint

  • Use gel cold packs

  1. Lose weight

Excess body weight poses as a huge threat to your overall health and wellbeing and it can also aggravate the intensity of pain in psoriatic arthritis. The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases published results of the study which discovered that patients who took biologic medication and lost weight improved more than participants who didn’t lose weight. The research included 138 participants with PA and all of them were obese or overweight with the BMI of 25 or higher.

Increasing body weight forms a greater pressure onto the joints and induces more pain. Additionally, overweight or obese individuals with PA may experience a double dose of inflammation, which is one of the psoriatic arthritis causes. Therefore, making healthy lifestyle adjustments to start losing weight will decrease inflammation and pressure on your joints, and thereby reduce pain.

  1. Use adaptive devices

You can prevent joint pain and minimize the stress they endure by making it easier for yourself to do some day-to-day tasks. Using adaptive devices is a great way to manage PA. For example, walkers and crutches can help you move around more easily in case the pain you experience prevents you from walking around your home. Use larger utensils to eat because they are easier to hold. Instead of opening jars yourself, you can invest in jar openers. There are numerous devices nowadays that are created having aching joints in mind.

  1. Invest in quality shoes

Psoriatic arthritis patients usually experience pain in their feet, particularly toes and find it difficult to walk or exercise. In order to ease the pain and manage your condition effectively, you should invest in quality footwear. Ideally, you should go for supportive shoes with enough room for your toes. Furthermore, orthotics can relieve the pain as well because they redistribute pressure on your feet. Cushioned or supportive footwear can provide better skeletal alignment and comfort as well. It is highly recommended to visit a podiatrist (foot specialist) if you suffer from excruciating pain in your feet.

  1. Watch your diet

Your diet is very important! Although nutrition can’t cause PA or cure it entirely, it can aggravate the inflammation and thereby pain or it can reduce the inflammation in your body. It’s needless to mention that a healthy diet is necessary for overall health and weight loss at the same time.

Here are some diet tips to prevent PA flare-ups:

  • Reduce sugar consumption – sugar increases inflammation and contributes to weight gain. Instead of candies and unhealthy desserts, opt for fruits

  • Decrease intake of red meat – it increases cholesterol levels and could potentially induce joint pain. Ideally, you should focus on plant-based diet

  • Don’t give up on dairy just yet – most websites promote the exclusion of dairy from the diet because it “increases inflammation”. However, that’s not entirely correct. Study whose results were published in the Arthritis and Rheumatology showed that dairy doesn’t cause inflammation associated with arthritis. Therefore, if you’re a fan of milk and dairy products, you’re in the luck, but make sure you’re consuming low-fat versions

Other diet tips:

  • Limit saturated fat intake

  • Increase consumption of foods rich in antioxidant content

  • Increase intake of herbs and spices both of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties

  • Up the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids

  1. Pace yourself

Although staying active is important for pain relief and PA management, you also have to relax. You can relax your body and mind through mediation, yoga practice, or with deep breathing. The key is to find the perfect balance between being active and relaxed. For example, when exercising, you should never push yourself to limits you can’t take. Ideally, you should stop with any type of activity (even with the housework) when it seems you’re getting tired. This way, you won’t get to pressure your joints and suffer from excruciating pain. Find some time to relax several times throughout the day.

Conclusion

Psoriatic arthritis usually affects joints in the feet, especially the toes, and lower back. The pain can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life which is why certain management techniques can help you prevent the pain onset and/or minimize it. This article showed you seven unique ways to ease the pain. Always bear in mind that PA requires healthy lifestyle choices, and perfect balance between relaxation and activity.

Author Bio

David Gomes completed his M.S Professional degree in California Institute of Technology. He lives in Oakland, California, USA. He loves to write on a variety of topics such as joint health, weight loss, beauty and skin care for blogs and on-line publication sites. He also loves latest technology, gadgets. You can connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

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