Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that can develop in those who already have the skin condition known as psoriasis. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis (when mild) may only require therapy when symptoms arise. Once these symptoms subside, therapy can be halted unless, or until, further problems develop.
Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint within the body
- If the fingers and toes are affected, they can become rather swollen. This particular condition is known as dactylitis.
- Psoriatic arthritis in the spine, called spondylitis, causes pain in the back or neck, and difficulty bending. It can also cause tender spots at sites in the body where tendons and ligaments join on to the bones.
- Persistent inflammation from psoriatic arthritis causes joint damage later so diagnosis is essential.
While medical researchers are not positive about what causes psoriatic arthritis, it is thought that both genetic and environmental factors could play a role. The condition runs in some families, and people whose nails are pitted, thick, or malformed by the condition of psoriasis itself appear to be more at risk. Other triggers include viral and bacterial infections, allergic reactions, and skin damage from the sun or from harsh chemicals.
Psoriatic arthritis can be treated and the goal for such treatment is to control inflammation
- Exercise is important to keep the pain and swelling of psoriatic arthritis to a minimum so following a good exercise program will improve movement, strengthen the muscles to stabilize the joints, improve sleeping patterns, strengthen the heart, increase stamina as well as reduce and generally improve the overall physical appearance.
- Plenty of good quality sleep plus rest is helpful. So if insomnia poses a problem, this should be treated in a natural way.
- Taking a long soak in a warm bath or applying a warm compress can be very helpful if there is any suffering from pain and joint swelling. Completely opposite, some people find a cold compress works best for them.
- An occupational therapist can help those with psoriatic arthritis to protect their joints while a physiotherapist can advise on treatments and exercise. It may well be a good idea to get such professional help.
- If you or someone close to you is suffering from psoriatic arthritis, learn to properly manage the condition first and foremost by boosting the immune system. A weakened immune system is thought to be a contributing factor to the presence of psoriatic arthritis. Added to this: exercise regularly, eat healthily, maintain an appropriate weight, keep your stress levels down, ease up on straining your joints, respond to joint pain with heat and ice packs, and take it easy when symptoms of inflammation act up.
There are various medical treatment options for arthritis psoriasis as follows
- A non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called NSAID which is best taken with food (to reduce the chance of stomach upsets) morning and evening.
- DMDs or disease modifying drugs can be used to slow down the progression of the arthritis. They can take several weeks to begin to work and their use must be carefully monitored because of the risk of serious side effects on the liver and kidneys. Ciclosporin may be used to reduce severe inflammation quickly. It also acts on the immune system.
- Sulfasalazine suppresses the inflammatory response and has few side effects.
- Low doses of corticosteroids such as prednisone can be injected into joints to treat severe cases or taken as tablets for long term control. They are used only if other treatment has not worked.
The above are all pharmaceutical drugs and of course these always come with a considerable risk of side effects.
Consider a more gentle and natural form of treatment if at all possible
- Fish oil and turmeric are both helpful in reducing inflammation while nutritional supplements really can change the lives of those who are suffering from psoriatic arthritis. Choose ones that have ingredients such as boron, magnesium, chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM, and bromelain. It is also a good idea to include Omega 3 and selenium.
- Accupuncture is an alternative healing procedure.
- Willowbark contains salicin (similar to aspirin) and has been found to relieve pain in those with psoriatic arthritis. There are also many many herbs that can be beneficial in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. These include Black Cohosh, Bogbean, Celery Seeds, Chapparal, Feverfew, Nettle, Saffron and Yucca. These herbs are powerful relaxants and available from your local health store.
- Vitamin D is beneficial to all aspects of our health while those with psoriatic arthritis have been found to be deficient in this vitamin while vitamin K is important in promoting joint health. Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that has been found to be deficient in those with psoriatic arthritis.L-carnitine supplements have helped those with psoriatic arthritis pain in the knees enjoy relief.
- Certain herbs used in Traditional Chinese medicine have shown benefit in people with arthritis.
- What you eat is of vital importance and it is often best to keep a diary of what is eaten to see how it affects the symptoms so that anything that aggravates can be eliminated. Fruits and vegetables should be a main part of the diet of one who has psoriatic arthritis. Focus on using organic sources of chicken, beef, eggs and fish for your protein and learn about fats and the truth about saturated fats and cholesterol. Cook in stable fats like butter and lard and use coconut products such as the oil while staying away from wheat and diary as these foods promote inflammation and auto-immune responses in the body.
And finally - essential oils
is a complementary therapy from Healing Natural Oils specially formulated to help relieve the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and to control future discomfort.
is specially formulated for the psoriasis condition itself.