6 tips to cope with psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis symptoms can sometimes make everyday tasks a painful challenge. Try these easy life tips and tricks to help with your daily chores.

Try tools and tips for pain-free meal prep

Women in kitchen doing meal prep Meal prep

Tips and tricks can help in the kitchen. Use utensils with large handles and gadgets for chopping and to make meal prep easier.

Don't let psoriatic arthritis steal your joy of cooking. Use kitchen tools and gadgets with larger grip handles. Gripping smaller items can trigger hand pain.

Twisting jar lids also can hurt, especially during a flare. Try hands-free can openers instead. Or try ergonomic knives, food processors or countertop choppers to make chopping easier.

If kitchen duty leads to achy knees or a sore back, try standing on a thick kitchen mat. The soft cushion eases stress on the joints in the lower body. Or sit on a counter-height kitchen stool while cooking.

Also aim to do meal prep when you aren't having a flare. And store foods in airtight refrigerator or freezer bags to use later on.

Use a turntable or rotating tray to make spices and canned goods easy to get to without having to move jars and cans. To keep from bending more than you need to, use wall hooks or a ceiling pot hanger to store pots and pans.

Create a comfortable desk setting

Desk chair with lumbar support Lumbar support

A desk chair with lumbar support can prevent lower back pain by relieving stress on the muscles and spine.

Work at a desk? An adjustable desk chair with a lumbar support for the back is a must for comfort. Lumbar support can be built into a chair or added as an attachment. This helps prevent lower back pain by relieving stress from the muscles and spine. Place a footrest or even a few books under the feet so the knees and hips are level.

If you don't have built-in lumbar support, try rolling up a soft towel and placing it at the small of the back.

Another tip to lessen joint pain is to put your monitor in front of you and never to the side. The top 25% of the screen should be at eye level. If a computer mouse leaves the wrists and arms achy, try a track pad instead.

And don't forget to take a break every now and then to flex the joints. Moving keeps joints loose and limber.

Rethink your toilet and bath

Toilet seat riser Toilet seat riser

Knee and hip pain can make it hard to sit. Adding height to your toilet seat with a seat riser can make sitting easier.

Knee and hip pain can make it hard to sit on everyday toilet seats. Think about a toilet seat riser, which adds a few inches of height to the toilet seat. Opt for a hard plastic toilet seat. Soft, spongy ones might stick to skin and tear sensitive psoriasis lesions.

When bathing or showering, if you are able, use your hands to wash your skin since rubbing the skin too hard with a washcloth can worsen the psoriasis.

Is standing making you sore, or are you worried about a fall? A bath stool can help ease achy joints and make it easier to reach the feet and legs during shower or bath time.

Plan ahead before traveling

Driver behind the wheel of a car Behind the wheel

Adaptive controls such as swivel seats, spinner knobs and other hand controls can make driving easier.

Taking a road trip? Rent a car with adaptive controls ahead of time. Some rental car companies offer swivel seats, spinner knobs or other hand controls that may make the ride more comfortable.

If you're flying, book an aisle seat with extra legroom so that you can stretch out. Bring a small travel pillow for extra back or neck support. A folding reacher is a great tool for reaching items under the seat without bending.

You also might consider other items that might make your trip more comfortable, such as a beaded or padded seat cover, a foldable travel chair, and a collapsible cane with rubber grips on the bottom for stability. Canes can be used on airplanes during flight. But they must be stowed during takeoff and landing.

Build a better bed

Person sleeping in a bed The importance of sleep

Sleep is essential to good health. Make sure your bed and clothing are comfortable and soothing.

Getting enough sleep is essential to good health, especially when you're living with a lifelong condition. Make sure your bedsheets are soft and comfortable. Wear soothing fabrics such as cotton or silk to bed.

Find a mattress that is comfortable but firm enough to support the joints. Placing a pillow between the knees is also a great way to keep the spine in alignment and keep the legs from rubbing together.

If psoriatic lesions tend to itch at night, try wearing gloves to avoid scratching.

Lift little ones safely

Parent holding baby close to chest Lift little ones safely

Lift little ones safely by dropping to a knee, tightening your stomach muscles, then lift. This helps you avoid using your back.

Don't let the fear of joint pain stop you from enjoying snuggles and playtime with your kids or grandkids. Before you reach down to lift a child, follow these quick tips.

To pick up a child from the floor, always drop to one knee first, tighten the stomach muscles, then lift. Never use the back. Do the same thing when returning the child to the floor.

Never carry a baby on one hip with one arm. Instead, cradle the child close to the chest, pulling the child close to the center of the body.

To put a child in a crib, bend at the waist. Avoid stooping the shoulders, which could leave you with an achy back.

Using lifestyle tips and tricks to accomplish everyday tasks can help you avoid joint pain and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Talk to your health care provider about other ways to manage day-to-day living and stay pain-free.

March 21, 2023 See more In-depth