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How to Manage Joint Range of Motion

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 22, 2021

Pain and stiff joints are common side effects of psoriatic arthritis. You may think this diminished range of motion means you should avoid exercise, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting physically active can help reduce your symptoms and improve muscle strength. 

These low-impact activities are great for increasing your strength without putting too much pressure on your joints and spine. 

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Loss of Joint Range

Exercise. Just because you have psoriatic arthritis doesn’t mean you should sit around and do nothing. There are many range-of-motion exercises that shouldn’t trigger a flare-up that includes: 

  • Walking 
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Modified Pilates
  • Yoga

Rest. Rest can be good and bad, depending on how much of you do. If you don’t do enough exercises or activities, your muscle mass starts to decline, but if you do too much, you’re likely to trigger a flare-up that affects most of your joints. 

Meditation and Yoga. Stress can be a trigger for psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Taking on mediation or yoga can help destress your body and reduce the number of flare-ups you have while focusing on your body.

Prescription Joint Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are great for helping in the early stages of psoriatic arthritis. They help reduce skin symptoms and reduce inflammation. 

Next, cortisone injections can be used to treat ongoing inflammation. You may have to get shots to manage a single joint in your arm, or your doctor may recommend oral steroids to treat flare-ups. Make sure to track how long you’ve been taking the steroids as they aren’t meant to be long-term solutions. 

Another alternative to NSAIDs is DMARDs. They do well in treating psoriatic arthritis. Common medications include: 

  • Methotrexate 
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Cyclosporine

You will need to change your medications up sometimes. Taking psoriatic arthritis drugs does not keep psoriasis or inflammation away completely, and your body may build tolerance and start attacking the medications trying to help.  

The treatment that works best for you will depend on how bad your flare-ups are at the time of your diagnosis. The goal of these treatments is to help you reach psoriatic arthritis remission. By managing your joint range of motion, you’ll ideally be able to keep your mobility and independence. 

Talk to your doctor about the right combination for you to keep your joint range of motion. Most likely, your doctor will prescribe a mix of what's listed above.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Psoriatic Arthritis.”

NYU Langone Health: “Lifestyle Changes for Psoriatic Arthritis.” 

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