Psoriatic arthritis treatment has come a long way since doctors first recognized the condition in the 1950s. These days, your doctor can help you figure out how to ease symptoms and prevent joint damage.

Your plan probably will involve medicine, exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management.

There are medicines that treat psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor will decide exactly what you need. It may take some time to find the drugs that work best for you.

If you’ve noticed any of the following things, let your doctor know. They’ll look for solutions that’ll help you feel better.

1. Side Effects Bother You

Many meds that treat psoriatic arthritis make a big difference, but they all have risks. 

For instance, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen) can make stomach irritation and bleeding more likely. Methotrexate, which is prescribed for many types of arthritis, can damage the liver. And because medicines called biologics work on your immune system, they can make serious infections more likely. 

Let your doctor know if you have side effects from your medication.

2. Your Symptoms Make Your Job or Daily Life Hard

This can mean different things for different people. 

If you're a college professor and your treatment gets rid of all your symptoms except two swollen finger joints, you might be OK with that. But if you're a concert violinist who relies on those joints for a living, those same symptoms could be a show-stopper. 

Tell your doctor what you need to keep up with your day-to-day activities.  

3. You Don’t Feel Any Better

Some drugs may take a few weeks before you start to feel an improvement. So give your medicine a chance to help. 

But let your doctor know if your symptoms don’t improve or they get worse. They’ll figure out what’s best for you.  


4. You’re Extremely Tired

This is a common side effect of psoriatic arthritis. It’s also a side effect of many meds that treat it. Your condition may also cause anemia, which leads to fatigue. 

If you feel more tired than usual, tell your doctor so they can find out what’s causing it and how to fix it.

5. The Psoriasis You See on Your Skin Is Still There

Ask your doctor if there’s a medicine you can put on your skin to help.

6. Certain Joints, Especially Your Knees, Are Still Swollen or Painful

You might need a corticosteroid shot to ease inflammation in a specific joint. Physical therapy also helps.

Even if your joints feel less sore, it’s important to keep track of swelling and inflammation. It can mean your joints are being harmed. If the swelling doesn’t go down after you’ve taken your meds for a while, ask your doctor what else you can do to prevent more damage.

7. You Have a Joint That Isn’t Improving

In some cases, your condition can cause extreme joint damage. If this happens to you, your doctor may suggest surgery to repair it.

8. You're Depressed

Psoriatic arthritis and all that comes with it can affect your mood. If you’ve felt down for more than a few weeks, tell your doctor. They can tell you how you can start feeling like yourself again. This may include talking with a professional counselor and, in some cases, taking medicine.


9. Your Symptoms Go Away (Called Remission)

Your symptoms will come and go, so you may be able to take less medication when you’re feeling better. Ask your doctor about taking a drug holiday. Don't stop taking medication on your own.

WebMD Medical Reference

WebMD Voices

Jaime Lyn M., 42
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
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.
Chad V., 42
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 Township, 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.
Amie R., 33
Maricopa, AZ
I was so used to covering my psoriasis up, I thought I could mask the arthritis, too. But soon, both elbows were an issue and my fingers and knees were swelling. Don’t put off treating your symptoms in hopes that they’ll go away. Get the help you need.
Chad V., 42
I ignored my symptoms because I was embarrassed. Now I allow anyone and everyone to see me for me and my struggles because I know I'm not alone. It’s lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and makes days with flares much easier.
Josh B., 39
Tampa, FL
I would encourage anyone with this disease to explore support options, like those available through the National Psoriasis Foundation. It could change your life!

From WebMD

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