At-Home Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can occur with the skin condition psoriasis, a condition that causes red, itchy patches and silvery scales on the skin and scalp. PsA is a combination of the joint problems of arthritis and the skin issues of psoriasis. With PsA, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the joints and causes overproduction of skin cells.
Various treatments and lifestyle adjustments can be done at home to help reduce the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis: physical activity, temperature therapy, stress management, joint protection, skin protection, healthy eating, and eliminating bad habits.
Engaging in physical activity
Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming or biking, can help keep joints moving smoothly. It can also help individuals maintain a healthy weight, which reduces strain on joints. Physical activity also builds up muscles around the joints, increasing joint support.
Using temperature therapy
Warm compresses can improve blood circulation and ease muscle soreness or spasms. Cold packs help reduce joint swelling by constricting blood vessels.
Excess stress can make psoriatic arthritis flares worse. Utilizing stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help relax the mind and body.
Protecting the joints
Modifications to everyday movements can help protect the joints. Using a jar opener for tight lids, lifting heavy objects with two hands, opening doors using the arm or whole body instead of just the fingers are all good examples of modifications to help protect the joints.
Moisturizing the skin
Keeping the skin moisturized is important when managing psoriasis symptoms. Regular use of lotions containing aloe vera, jojoba, or zinc may be helpful. Taking short, warm baths with oatmeal or Epsom salts may be helpful.
Eating a healthy diet
Eating more fruits and vegetables, which have anti-inflammatory properties, can help promote a healthy weight. Sugar and fat, which can increase inflammation, should be limited.
Eliminating bad habits
Smoking is bad for the joints and the body in general. Quitting the habit of smoking and limiting alcohol intake, which can interact with certain PsA medications, is recommended.
These at-home treatments can be combined with medications to most effectively control psoriatic arthritis symptoms.