Early Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis and Treatments to Know
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that typically appears in people with psoriasis – a skin disease marked by itchy and inflamed red patches of skin that can cover small or large areas of the body. In PsA, the joints are the target of the immune attack.
According to the Arthritis Society, between 10 to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop PsA. This disease generally affects both men and women equally between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for PsA. However, it’s important to remember there are treatments available that will help you take control of the disease. Most people with PsA can lead productive lives with the help of both pharmaceutical and natural treatments.
Medications for PsA
If you’re living with PsA, it’s important to understand the several medications that are available to help reduce the severe pain in the joints caused by the disease. The most common medications include the following:
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID)
The most common pain medication to treat mild PsA, NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory drugs that are typically available over-the-counter. Some common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and other generic brands.
Traditional Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARDs)
DMARDs are medications that can help to slow or stop the inflammatory process. If left untreated, damaged joints can lead to long-term health effects.
Also called glucocorticoids or steroids, this medication helps to reduce inflammation in the body and is typically taken through injections.
Treatments You Might Not Know About
In addition to medication, you can also to slow down the progression of PsA through alternative treatments and remedies.
Here are some alternative therapies to try:
- Massage therapy: There are massage therapists that are specifically trained to help clients with PsA. A massage session can help relieve joint discomfort and ease tense muscles.
- Acupressure: This alternative treatment involves a practitioner putting pressure onto different parts of the body to help reduce pain and pressure.
- Acupuncture: A technique that involves a practitioner inserting thin needles into specific pressure on points on your body to relieve joint pain.
Here are some natural remedies to consider:
- Turmeric: Studies have shown that incorporating turmeric into your diet or taking turmeric capsules can greatly decrease inflammation in the joints.
- Ginger: Ginger is well-known for having anti-inflammatory properties. An easy way to incorporate ginger into your diet is by drinking ginger tea.
- Aloe Vera: The gel from the aloe plant can be used to provide relief from inflamed patches of psoriatic skin. Please note that aloe vera should never be ingested.
What Causes PsA?
If you’re living with PsA, you may be wondering what causes of the disease. Simply, it occurs when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear as to what exactly causes the immune system to attack, but there have been studies that link PsA to genetics and environmental factors. If you have psoriasis, you’re at a greater risk for developing PsA, especially if you have psoriasis lesions on your nails.
Early Signs and Symptoms
It’s important to note that both PsA and psoriasis get worse over time, although some people may have periods when their symptoms improve slightly or go into remission. If you think you may be at risk for PsA, here are some sign and symptoms to watch for:
- Pain and swelling in one or more joints
- Pain in and around the feet and ankles
- Inflamed joints that is hot to touch
- Pitted nails that may look like a fungal infection
- Nail separation (nails that fall off, this can happen with or without pitting)
- Lower back pain
- Eye irritation and inflammation
- Extreme fatigue