Diseases > Psoriatic Arthritis | PsA > Care and Treatment for PsA
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Care and Treatment of PsA
People with PsA can lead active and productive lives with the right kinds of treatment. There are a number of effective treatment options available. These can help to decrease your joint pain and increase your joint mobility. Some treatments can also help relieve your psoriasis.
There are both medication and non-medication therapies to treat PsA. For example, exercise and joint protection are non-medication approaches to treating PsA. There are also several medications you can take to control your PsA. Whatever treatment approach you choose it is essential to remember two key points: treat PsA early and treat it aggressively.
Why is it important to treat PsA early?
Remember, PsA can eventually destroy the joints if it is not adequately controlled. The goal of treatment is to protect the joints before PsA causes permanent damage. Once the damage from PsA is done it cannot be reversed with medicine.
Think of it like this: the inflammation caused by PsA is like a fire burning in your joints. If you were sitting in your living room and you noticed a fire on the stove, you would want to put it out right away before it spread. You wouldn’t say “let’s wait a little bit” until the fire spreads to the ceiling before trying to put it out. With PsA, we want to put out the fire in your joints as quickly as possible, before permanent damage is done. We also want to treat PsA before it starts to affect other joints and other parts of the body.
Why is it important to treat PsA aggressively?
As we’ve said before, PsA can cause permanent damage if it is not treated and controlled. This can happen even if the pain and discomfort of PsA is not severe. In some people, joint damage can occur quickly. So we want to get the inflammation under control as soon as possible before permanent damage occurs. The right treatments can reduce inflammation so that the joints don’t become damaged. This can help prevent stiffness, pain and loss of mobility.
Physical Therapy and Exercise
Physical therapy is an important part of your overall treatment plan. The right stretching and exercises can actually improve the stiffness in your joints. Physical activity can also reduce pain, fatigue and the emotional distress of PsA. Daily stretching and the right kinds of exercises can help keep the joints moving properly. It can also protect the joints by strengthening the muscles around them.
Learning how to protect your joints and how to use your joints properly can make a big difference. This can help ease the pain of PsA and avoid extra stress that can damage the joints. If the joints in your hands are affected by PsA, avoid carrying heavy bags by narrow handles or straps – use a cart to carry heavy items instead. Squatting or kneeling can place extra stress on the joints of your hips or knees. A trained arthritis physiotherapist can help design an exercise program tailored to you and your needs. They can also help teach you how to protect your joints and use them properly.
Below are some useful articles on exercising with arthritis:
- Exercise and Arthritis: An article by arthritis physiotherapist, Marlene Thompson
- Exercising in a Flare: Another excellent article written by Marlene Thompson on how to cope with flares through your exercise routine.
Skin care is also an important part of your overall treatment plan. If your psoriasis is severe, it can be helpful to consult a dermatologist. Some of the medications used to treat the arthritis of PsA are also helpful for psoriasis. See the Medications section for more information about medications for the treatment of psoriasis and PsA.
Psoriasis can also be improved with certain creams and lotions. “Topical” therapy is often used together with other medications that control the inflammation of the joints affected by PsA.
Many people with psoriasis can also benefit from moderate exposure to sunlight. Like for people without psoriasis, too much sunlight can cause skin damage. It is important to take steps to avoid sunburn.