What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis causes painful inflammation in and around your joints. It usually affects people who already have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes a red, scaly rash, especially on your elbows, knees, back, buttocks and scalp.
However, some people develop arthritic symptoms before psoriasis, while others will never acquire skin conditions.
Your joint hurts for two reasons:
- Your nerve endings are irritated by the chemicals produced by the inflammation.
- The swelling stretches the capsule in your joints.
When the inflammation goes down, the capsule remains stretched and can’t hold your joint in its proper position. This can make your joint unstable and painful.
What are the Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can include:
- pain and stiffness in and around your joints
- swollen fingers or toes (dactylitis), caused by inflammation both in joints and tendons
- buttock pain, a stiff back or a stiff neck (spondylitis)
- pain and swelling in your heels
- pain in other areas where tendons attach to bone (enthesitis), such as your knee, hip and chest
- pitting, discolouration and thickening of your nails
- fatigue, which can be caused by the activity of the disease or the emotional effects of living with a long-term condition.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis
Researchers have not identified a specific infection. We don’t yet precisely know what triggers the inflammation, although a particular combination of genes and infection makes some people more likely to develop psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes arthritis can follow an accident or injury, mainly if it affects a single joint. People who are overweight are more susceptible to both psoriasis and arthritis associated with this.
How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?
Due to the variety of symptoms experienced by patients, diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis can be complex. Doctors will confirm the diagnosis based on your symptoms, a physical examination and the results of x-rays, scans and blood tests. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist (Rheumatologist) to confirm the diagnosis and receive treatment.
Blood tests, in this case, are used to measure inflammation. You may have one of these tests:
- Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
- C-reactive protein (CRP).
Both of these may show a high value when inflammation is present. These tests may be repeated from time to time to help monitor your arthritis.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment
Your Doctor or Rheumatologist will use a combination of skin treatments and medication to treat your condition. The medications prescribed will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
Treatments for your Skin
Your skin’s treatment will usually involve a variety of ointments. These may vary from tar-based lotions, dithranol based ointments, steroid-based creams, vitamin D-like ointments and vitamin A-like (retinoid) gels such as tazarotene.
If the creams and ointments don’t help your psoriasis, your doctor may suggest light therapy or retinoid tablets.
Many of the DMARDs used for psoriatic arthritis will also help your skin condition. Similarly, some of the treatments for your skin may help your arthritis.
Medication and Drugs
The three main groups of drugs used to treat the pain and inflammation caused by Psoriatic Arthritis are:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
Your doctor or rheumatology specialist is the best person to discuss these drugs with and will manage the use of these medications carefully.
Physical Therapies for Psoriatic Arthritis
Looking after your joints and managing your symptoms is very important in the treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis. Your physiotherapist can suggest several different therapies that may help ease your symptoms and reduce the impact of Psoriatic Arthritis on your life.
The following treatments m help patients with Psoriatic Arthritis.
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Heat/Cold Therapy
- Pain Management
- Splinting advice
- Fatigue management
- Manual techniques
Surgery is occasionally needed for Psoriatic Arthritis. These may include injections, tendon surgery or, in extreme cases, joint replacement. Outcomes for these procedures are successful.
What Can You Do For Yourself?
Understand Your Condition and How it Affects You
“Knowledge is power”. Educating yourself on the condition will help you manage your inflammation better and empower you to talk to others (Rheumatologist, GP, family etc.) about your situation.
Understanding how your behaviour and activities influence your symptoms can help you reduce the pain and suffering caused by Psoriatic Arthritis. Speaking to a health professional can help you identify aspects of your life that may be aggravating your Psoriatic Arthritis and help address them.
Keep Moving to Pain and Swelling
- Exercise helps to lessen your pain in the long run by maintaining muscle strength and optimising joint health.
- Inflammation can lead to muscle weakness and stiffness in your joints. Exercise is vital to prevent this and to keep your joints working correctly.
- Well-designed activity programs can increase your range of movement, reduce fatigue and help you feel better overall. Appropriate low-impact aerobic activities like hydrotherapy, cycling, Tai chi, pilates and walking can help improve your general health and manage your symptoms.
- A strength-training program called progressive resistance training (PRT) has improved physical function in rheumatoid conditions.
- Your physiotherapist is an expert in the assessment and prescription of Psoriatic Arthritis exercises. Would you please ask them what is best for you?
- Managing stress and anxiety with muscle relaxation techniques, distraction, guided imagery, and other techniques can help improve your general health and control painful symptoms.
- Activities such as Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga are a great way to relax and de-stress while conditioning the muscles and joints in the body.
Aids and Equipment
- Supports such as walking aids and specialised cooking utensils reduce joint strain and help you manage pain and fatigue. Your therapist can give you advice on aids.
Heat and Ice Therapy
- Heat – heat works to reduce muscle tension and stimulate blood circulation. You may find that applying something warm before getting up in the morning or during the day helps reduce discomfort and stiffness in your joints.
- Ice – Ice helps reduce inflammation in muscles and joints by constricting blood vessels and preventing fluids from leaking into surrounding tissues. It would help if you tried icing your joints after any significant activity or at the end of the day.
- Being aware of how your daily habits and activities influence your symptoms is very important. Learning about activity pacing through diaries and activity management strategies can help you achieve what you want, but with less pain or discomfort.
- Poor sleep patterns, sleeping environment, and sleeping position can significantly impact your pain and symptoms. Most people are unaware of the factors that can influence sleep health, so addressing these factors can help you manage your symptoms.
Treat Your Muscles
- A quality remedial massage may be just the relief your muscles need. Treat yourself to a good rub down with someone you trust. The benefits vary from person to person but may include decreased pain and muscle stiffness associated with your arthritis, increased circulation, and an improvement in your sleep and immune functions. Mentally, massage can also decrease stress and depression. Besides all that, massage feels good!
Psoriatic Arthritis Products
Heat packs are often a fantastic way of easing away stiffness and pain associated with Psoriatic Arthritis.
Please attain specific advice from your physiotherapist or doctor.
Understanding Arthritis-Related Conditions
Arthritis is a prevalent and diverse group of conditions affecting millions worldwide. It encompasses many disorders characterised by inflammation and joint pain, often leading to stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility. Arthritis can significantly impact a person's quality of life, affecting their ability to perform daily tasks and engage in physical activities.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of arthritis-related conditions, focusing on both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. By understanding these conditions' causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can make informed decisions about managing their joint health and seek appropriate medical guidance.
In this article, we will explore the fundamental aspects of arthritis, including its definition, common symptoms, and risk factors. By establishing a clear understanding of what arthritis entails, readers can grasp the broader context before diving into specific subtypes.
This article delves into rheumatoid conditions, encompassing autoimmune disorders primarily affecting the joints. We will provide an overview of each condition, highlighting key characteristics, diagnostic approaches, and available treatment modalities. The rheumatoid conditions covered in this article include:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis,
- Psoriatic Arthritis,
- Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- What is a Rheumatoid Physiotherapy?
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is the focus of this section. We will delve into its definition, underlying causes, risk factors, and prevalence. Additionally, we will explore specific osteoarthritis conditions.
Spinal Arthritic Conditions
Peripheral Joint Arthritis
By dividing the information into these sections, we aim to provide readers with a well-structured and informative resource. Each section will delve into the specificities of the respective conditions, including their impact on different parts of the body, available treatment options, and strategies for managing symptoms. Whether you seek general knowledge or are personally affected by arthritis-related conditions, this article is a valuable guide to navigating this complex field.
Please note that while this article provides a comprehensive overview, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Individuals experiencing symptoms or seeking specific treatment recommendations should consult with qualified healthcare professionals for personalised care.
Joints, over time, exhibit signs of wear and tear: the joint cartilage thins out, extra bony spurs develop in response to stress, and joint mobility diminishes. In advanced stages, osteoarthritis can become not only painful but also limiting in function and mood.
Exploring Osteoarthritis Management
Regrettably, a cure for osteoarthritis remains elusive. Nevertheless, there are more effective methods to manage the condition and slow down the degenerative process. By embracing these improvements, you can make your life smoother and more comfortable. A crucial component of this approach is physiotherapy, which plays a pivotal role in reducing osteoarthritis-related discomfort, enhancing comfort, and maintaining your activity levels.
Validating with Research
Numerous studies underscore the benefits of physiotherapy in alleviating pain and mitigating the disability linked to arthritis, especially in cases of knee osteoarthritis. (Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096458)
Empowering through Expert Guidance
To rediscover the joy of life, seek the insightful counsel of your physiotherapist today!
Navigating Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
The most straightforward test to confirm osteoarthritis remains an X-ray. A skilled practitioner can often make a reliable assessment of your condition upon examination.
Impact on Ageing Individuals
As we age, most of us inevitably encounter some degree of osteoarthritis. The wear and tear on our joints can result from various factors, including aging, injury, prolonged microtrauma, joint overuse, or excessive weight. This can lead to lasting changes in the bones, even in the absence of painful symptoms.
The extent of suffering varies, ranging from mild or occasional pain triggered by increased use or minor injury, to those who remain symptom-free and others who experience constant debilitating pain.
Weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and spine are commonly affected. However, osteoarthritis can target any joint in the body, with hands and shoulders also being frequently affected. While severe cases might necessitate surgery, the majority respond positively to the combination of physician-prescribed physiotherapy and medication.
Recognising Osteoarthritis Signs
Osteoarthritis might be suspected if you encounter any of the following:
- Intermittent joint pain or tenderness
- Morning stiffness, particularly pronounced
- Swelling or distortion of the joint
- Detectable warmth and redness in the joint
- Challenging joint movement
Holistic Osteoarthritis Care
For guidance on your osteoarthritis diagnosis, self-help strategies, or the most suitable treatment, reach out promptly to your physiotherapist or a trusted healthcare professional.