What about water therapy and psoriatic arthritis prevention? continued...
Exercise programs can be done at home or with a physical therapist and are customized according to the disease and physical capabilities of each patient. Warm-up stretching, or other techniques -- such as hot showers or heating pads -- are helpful to relax muscles prior to exercise. Ice application after the routine can help minimize post-exercise soreness and inflammation. In general, exercises for psoriatic arthritis are performed for the purpose of strengthening and maintaining or improving joint range of motion. They should be done on a regular basis for best results.
How can heat and cold therapy help with psoriatic arthritis prevention?
Heat and cold therapy involves alternating moist heat and cold to affected joints to provide temporary relief of pain and swelling associated with psoriatic arthritis. Moist heat -- supplied by a warm towel, hot pack, or warm bath or shower -- can help relax aching muscles and relieve joint pain and soreness. Cold therapy -- supplied by a bag of ice or even frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel -- can reduce swelling and relieve pain by numbing the affected joints.
Are there some tips on joint protection and energy conservation?
Daily activities should be performed in ways that reduce excess stress and fatigue on joints. Proper body mechanics (the way you position your body during a physical task) may not only protect joints, but also conserve energy. People with psoriatic arthritis are encouraged to frequently change body position at work, at home, and during leisure activities. Maintaining good posture -- sitting and standing up straight and not arching your back -- is also valuable for preserving function.
Three techniques can help distribute workloads and stress throughout the body to prevent overworking affected joints:
- Pacing: Alternate heavy, hard, or repetitive tasks with light or easy tasks, or with breaks from the activity.
- Conservative joint use: Use joints in a manner that produces the least amount of stress on them, such as using larger, stronger joints in place of smaller ones whenever possible. For example, use a shoulder bag rather than a handheld purse.
- Assistive devices: A variety of helpful devices, such as canes, grab bars, extra-thick pens, luggage carts, or sit/stand stools can relieve stress on joints and make daily activities more comfortable. An occupational therapist can help you select devices that are appropriate for your type of psoriatic arthritis.