Managing chronic pain when you have psoriatic arthritis
One way to cope with the chronic pain of psoriatic arthritis is to find ways to manage the pain so that it remains at a tolerable level that allows you to enjoy your life.
Thinking of yourself as the manager of your pain can make you feel more confident in your ability to complete your daily tasks despite the pain. Having a plan for coping with chronic pain gives you something to focus on when there's temptation to dwell on your discomfort.
Here are some ideas to help you get started in managing the chronic pain of psoriatic arthritis:
- Find the right doctor. The right doctor is someone who understands your condition and believes in what you're doing. Find someone who will be a good partner you can turn to when you're having trouble managing your psoriatic arthritis. The right doctor could be your family doctor or a specialist. Choose a doctor who listens to you and wants to help.
- Set goals. Working toward a goal diverts your attention from your pain. It can help you refocus your energy on making positive changes. Pick goals that are attainable and measurable. For example, if you want to exercise more often, the goal you set might be to exercise 20 minutes every day. It's fun to achieve your goals and frustrating when you fall short, so set goals that aren't too far out of your reach.
- Track your progress. Consider starting a daily journal to track your progress toward your goals. It's also a great place to log your pain and activity levels so that you can look for patterns that might help you manage your pain. Writing your feelings and observations in your journal can help you organize your thoughts and emotions. Looking back in your journal is a great way to see how you've changed and grown over time.
- Prepare for the bad days. The bad days will happen and the best time to prepare is when you're having a good day. Create a plan or list of activities that you can turn to when you're having a bad day. You might consider making yourself a schedule so that you can focus on what needs to be done. Another strategy might be finding distractions, such as a funny movie or time with a good friend.
As the manager of your pain, recognize your hard work and reward yourself when you reach your goals or successfully make it through a bad day. Rewards are great ways to reinforce the positive changes you're making in your life. Treat yourself to something enjoyable to celebrate your accomplishments.
April 01, 2020
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- Bruce BK, et al., eds. Mayo Clinic Guide to Pain Relief. 2nd ed. Mayo Clinic; 2013.
- Benzon HT, et al., eds. Psychologic interventions for chronic pain. In: Essentials of Pain Medicine. 4th ed. Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 26, 2019.