What are some ways that I can reduce my psoriatic arthritis pain?
Figuring out the right mix of pain management methods is important for relieving your psoriatic arthritis pain. Everyone responds to treatment differently. Typically, you'll need some medication to manage your psoriatic arthritis pain. Lifestyle choices play a role, too.
The inflammation and swelling that occur with psoriatic arthritis contribute to joint pain, tenderness and stiffness. Treatments that control inflammation can help reduce pain. Psoriatic arthritis pain treatment options include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help ease mild inflammation and swelling. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). NSAIDs also are available in prescription strengths.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall), leflunomide (Arava) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).
- Targeted synthetic DMARDs, which decrease inflammation by blocking the action of an enzyme, phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), in inflammatory cells. The oral medication apremilast (Otezla), taken by mouth, is an example.
Biological DMARDs, which target the signals between the cells of the immune system involved in inflammation. Biological DMARDs include tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors, such as etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), certolizumab (Cimzia) and golimumab (Simponi). Other biological DMARDs include ustekinumab (Stelara), secukinumab (Cosentyx), ixekizumab (Taltz) and abatacept (Orencia).
These medications are either injected under the skin or infused through an IV. You can learn how to do the injections under the skin on your own. Your doctor will probably do the infusion in the office, hospital or an outpatient infusion facility.
- Steroid injections in an affected joint, which reduce inflammation quickly.
- Joint replacement surgery, which replaces severely damaged joints with artificial ones made of metal and plastic.
Lifestyle choices also can influence pain. To reduce pain:
- Shed excess weight to ease joint strain. Limit calories and choose lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
- Exercise regularly to improve joint function and help you lose or maintain weight. Occupational therapy and physical therapy might help if exercise is too painful for you.
- Use assistive devices such as jar openers, grabbers and zipper pulls to ease the load on your joints. When lifting something heavy, distribute the load evenly between both hands.
- Modify your home to ease the demands on your joints, for example, by adding a raised toilet seat and handrails in the bathroom.
Talk with your doctor about which treatments might be most effective for you. Over time, you might need to adjust your treatment plan and lifestyle to relieve your psoriatic arthritis pain.
Oct. 23, 2019
See more Expert Answers
- Managing pain. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriatic-arthritis#pain. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Gladman D. Treatment of psoriatic arthritis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Self-help arthritis devices. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis/self-care.php. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Psoriatic arthritis treatment. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis/treatment.php. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis: Biologic drugs. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/biologics. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.
- Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Dermatologic disorders. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2019. 58th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2019. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Dec. 20, 2018.
- Can good nutrition help with a chronic disease? https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/can-good-nutrition-help-chronic-disease. National Psoriasis Foundation. Accessed Dec. 21, 2018.