The pain and discomfort of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can be hard to manage. But you can take steps to keep the pain at bay that don’t involve more pills, prescription creams, or another visit to your doctor.
These more natural methods won’t cure you. But if you talk to your doctor and work together to come up with a plan, these home-grown remedies might help ease your aching joints.
If you have PsA and you're overweight, you're more likely to have pain, tender and swollen joints, and other symptoms than people who aren’t carrying extra pounds, a recent study showed. You’re also prone to other illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. And it could make it hard for your doctor to figure out the right dose of medication to prescribe for your condition.
Drop the weight and you’ll ease the symptoms that come with this painful condition, the National Psoriasis Foundation says.
These tips will help you stick with a healthy diet:
- Load your plate with fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, as they can increase swelling.
- Eat only lean meats and poultry, and lots of fish.
- Choose healthy proteins, like beans and nuts.
- Limit alcohol. (You should check with your doctor anyway to make sure that nightcap or occasional beer isn’t affecting the medications you already take.)
- Say “no” to refined sugar and processed foods, especially those that are high in fats.
- Go low-fat or fat-free with dairy products.
- Keep track of your cholesterol and how much salt you eat.
It improves your heath and keeps your joints flexible. If you don’t move enough, you could get stiff joints and muscle weakness, the American College of Rheumatology says.
Two good choices are riding an exercise bike or walking. Use shoe inserts to avoid too much pressure on your feet, ankles, or knees.
You might also try water exercises, like swimming or walking laps in the pool. You’ll get a good workout but won’t stress your joints.
Use Heat and Cold Therapy
Ice reduces swelling, and heat can increase the blood flow through an inflamed area. You might need a little practice to see what feels best for you.
Stress can cause your PsA to flare up. Lower your risk by doing things that relax you. Try yoga, meditation, going for a walk, or reading a good book.
Ask Your Doctor About Alternative Remedies
One herb, turmeric, has been found to reduce PsA flare-ups. But some herb-based treatments that you buy over-the-counter can cause serious side effects if you take them with your medications. Talk to your doctor before you use them.
Acupressure gives some people relief. That’s where a therapist applies slight pressure on key points on your body to ease pain and stress, increase blood flow, and boost your immune system. Scientists can’t prove it works for PsA, though.
Simple massage therapy might help, too. It stretches muscles and joints, and it can help you relax.