You can soothe your psoriatic arthritis symptoms -- or even stop them before they start -- with a combo of exercise, medicines, and other treatments.

Your doctor can tell you exactly what you need to do. Chances are, these tactics will be high on his list, right next to taking your medicines.

Get Moving

Are you cautious about exercise? Get out there. Just make sure you stick with what your doctor says is OK for you -- probably low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or biking. Make sure you pace yourself, too.

When you make exercise a habit, you can:

  • Ease arthritis symptoms.
  • Improve how you move.
  • Get stronger and more flexible.
  • Keep your weight healthy, which takes pressure off your joints.
  • Help your heart.
  • Boost your mood.
  • Give yourself more energy.

You can work out on your own or with the help of a physical therapist. Warm up first, so your muscles can ease into it.

One of your best options is water therapy, also called hydrotherapy or aqua therapy. It’s an exercise program held in a pool. The water takes some of the weight off your joints, so it may be easier for you to do well.

Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it’s one you'll like enough to do it regularly. Also, try to be active throughout your day. You can garden, give the dog an extra walk, and fit in some stretches while you’re at your kid’s sports practice.

Use Hot and Cold

Moist heat can relax achy muscles and relieve stiffness and joint pain. You can use a warm towel, hot pack, or take a warm bath or shower.

Coldness can cut back on swelling and ease pain. You can cool down with a bag of ice or with frozen veggies wrapped in a towel.

3 Ways to Protect Your Joints

You don’t have to give up the things you love to do. Just look for ways to do them that take the stress off your joints.

The way you walk, sit, stand, or hold things can help. Change your position at work, at home, and throughout the day. Sit and stand up straight, and don't arch your back. Good posture helps you feel better.

Make these three things a habit:

1. Pace yourself. Switch between heavy, hard, or repetitive tasks and light or easy tasks. Make sure you take breaks.

2. Be kind to your joints. Put as little stress on them as possible. Use larger, stronger joints when you can, instead of smaller ones. For example, wear a shoulder bag rather than a handheld purse.

3. Get an assist. Many helpful devices -- like canes, grab bars, extra-thick pens, luggage carts, or sit/stand stools -- can make your day easier. Ask an occupational therapist which ones would help you.

It's natural to have flare-ups, but then you'll have times where you feel better. If you notice any new symptoms, tell your doctor. That’ll help keep things in check so you don't have more joint damage. You can keep your symptoms under control with treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference

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WebMD Voices

Chad V., 42
Atlanta
I've been on several different medications, all with their pros and cons, but thanks to trial and error, my skin is now clear and I can move. It’s worth pushing through until you find the treatment you need.
Rich W., 57
South Brunswick, NJ
When trying something new, tell your doctor about anything that comes up. Do blood tests on a regular basis. And give treatments time to work -- it can sometimes take months to see a change.
Amie R., 33
Maricopa, AZ
I’ve been able to connect with so many people going through what I’m going through because of social media. It’s so helpful to talk to others who understand not only the physical toll, but the emotional toll this condition can take.
Jaime Lyn M., 42
Detroit
Living with psoriatic arthritis is like playing Pac-Man. You gobble up dots (do your daily activities) before the ghosts (psoriatic arthritis symptoms) get you. Cherries are like medicine -- they turn the ghosts invisible for a little while.
Cynthia C., 50
Moreno Valley, CA
I thought that exercising would increase the pain in my hips, but movement has actually decreased the inflammation and has increased my mobility. Now I take two walks daily.
Michele S., 68
Cornville, AZ
While others may not be able to understand fully the pain and challenges you face, it doesn’t mean they can’t care. Talk openly and share your struggles and strengths with those who ask.
Cynthia C., 50
Moreno Valley, CA
Don't let pain keep you from moving your body. Start slow by doing what you can, even just 5-minute walks. Then make it a daily habit and increase as your body allows.
Josh B., 39
Tampa, FL
My chronic pain got so bad that I couldn't hold a pencil. My wife and I decided as a team that the potential benefit to my quality of life was worth the risk of trying a biologic. Two weeks later, I was able to resume my normal work routine.
Jaime Lyn M., 42
Detroit
Psoriatic arthritis is the hidden component of the psoriasis that people can't see. I try and educate everyone I can on the chronic pain so they understand what I deal with, often daily.

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